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W. A. HARPER, Litt.D., LL.D. 

Professor of Religious Education, 
Vanderbilt School of Religion 




The Christopher Publishing House 
Boston, U. S. A* 

Copyright, 1937 
by the christopher publishing house 






Beginning at 8 P. M. Saturday, October 3, 1936 
and continuing each Saturday evening at the same hour 
through December 26, for fifteen minutes each night, 
WSIX broadcast a Leadership Education Course, 
with the undersigned as speaker or leader. The course 
was entitled, "My Christian Beliefs" and is repro- 
duced just as given over the radio in the pages that 
follow. It had previously been given under different 
titles and with variant content in more than a dozen 

It was a new departure in Leadership Education, 
but judged by the favorable comments that came to 
the leader, the individual lectures were quite well re- 
ceived. No doubt a public accustomed to such courses 
over radio, would have sent in problems to be pre- 
sented by the leader, and this would have made the 
process more nearly creative. The twelve topics with 
the two questions given on both the Saturday evening 
preceding the lecture and repeated before the lecture 
on the eve of its delivery are herewith listed as fol- 
lows : 


1. What is religion? 

2. In what way will rethinking our religion tend 

to make it personal? 


1. How have men conceived of God? 

2. How can we know God? 





1. What did Jesus teach? 

2. How did His life express His teaching? 


1. How can we know the Holy Spirit? 

2. How can a monotheist believe in the Trinity? 


1. What is Man? 

2. How does Christianity regard Man? 


1. What is conversion? 

2. What is Christian nurture? 


1. What do we mean by creation? 

2. What is the Christian view of the world? 


1. What are the nature and function of the 


2. How is the Church related to sectarianism? 


1. How is the Bible God's Word? 

2. How shall we use the Bible? 


1. Upon what principles must the final religion 


2. Under what conditions may Christianity be- 

come the final religion? 


1. What are the arguments for and against be- 

lief in immortality? 

2. What does Christianity have to say with ref- 

erence to the question, Does this life end 
spiritual development? 




1. Contrast the Christian and Pagan Philosophies 

of life. 

2. How does philosophy become personal 


What follows is the course as given on successive 
Saturday evenings, as we have said, though the in- 
augurating lecture given on October 3 is omitted. It is 
hoped that the reading of these lectures may serve to 
quicken interest in Leadership Education, a lamentable 
need of our present-day religious education forces, and 
lead to consistent thinking on the several items of the 
faith we cherish. Each Christian has his theology, 
though he may not call it by that name. The author in 
these pages sets forth his present Christian beliefs. 

In the appendix is given a list of books bearing on 
each topic presented. It is hoped that these sources will 
be consulted before the particular chapter is read in 
each instance, so that the reader may not be too much 
influenced in his judgment by the leader's point of 

There is no question that radio offers a real oppor- 
tunity in Leadership Education, and it is hoped that 
the opportunity will be seized upon and utilized to the 

W. A. Harper. 

Vanderbilt University, 
Easter, 1937. 



Foreword 7 

I What is Personal Religion? 13 

II How Shall We Think About God? 21 

III How Shall We Understand Jesus? 27 

IV Do We Need the Holy Spirit in Our 

Religion? 33 

V How Shall We Regard Man? 41 

VI Does Man Need Salvation? 47 

VII How Was the World Created? 54 

VIII Do We Need Church? 62 

IX Of What Value is the Bible? 72 

X Is Christianity the Final Religion? 81 

XI Does Death End All? 92 

XII Do We Need a Philosophy of Life? 100 

Appendix Ill 

Personal Religious Beliefs 


What Is Personal Religion? 

General Statement 

The discussion that follows as well as that in con- 
nection with each subject treated is to be taken also as 
source material for the solution of the problems and 
issues arising out of the consideration of the particular 
topic. It is in no sense to be regarded as final nor to 
be used as authoritative in the ordinary meaning of the 
term, but it is hoped it will be suggestive to the earnest 
seeker after truth. The discussion in each case repre- 
sents the speaker's thinking to date frankly stated, 
based on his personal experience, the reading of much 
source material, and not a little reflective thought. The 
direct method of the radio presentation accounts for 
certain departures from the literary style. 

As a witness to the truth as it appears to one mind, 
the discussion may, it is hoped, be valuable in arriving 
at helpful conclusions, understanding of course, that 
all conclusions are tentative and subject to continuous 
revision as experience widens and insights deepen. The 
truth that frees, goes marching on. It is a discovery, a 
questing, not a deposit. "The truth shall make you 
free," said Jesus. He also said — "I have yet many 
things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now." 



It is hoped that the alert reader will consult the list of 
sources given in the appendix but particularly the Bible 
references in connection with each topic before making 
up his mind on any theme presented in this discussion. 

What Is Religion? 

While our definitions of religion all may well vary, 
there are certain concepts that inhere in all of them 
and it is these concepts that really constitute religion. 
Underlying religion are the concepts that a power or 
force or energy or personality higher than man exists, 
that man realizes his insufficiency in the presence of 
this Power, that this Power is friendly to him, and that 
he inevitably reaches out toward it for help. 

Historically speaking, men have always entertained 
these concepts and ordered their lives in terms of them. 
Their methods have varied as much as their definitions, 
and these various attempts to make these concepts 
function in living have given us the several religious 
systems of the world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confu- 
cianism, Mohammedanism, Shintoism, Judaism, Chris- 
tianity, and the rest, eleven of them living and many 
more dead. So we need never to apologize for our 
religious aspiration. It distinguishes men from the min- 
eral, vegetable and animal orders of creation. These 
may have energy, may have life even, but they lack 
personal relationship with the divine. 

The Origin of Religion 

Is religion man-made, or is it the voice of God 
validated in experience and making clear His will and 
mind and purpose for men? The answer is, that it is 
both. God does speak to men, but not all men hear. 


Man is a radio set, so to speak. God is the spiritual 
broadcaster. In order to get the message of the broad- 
cast, we must tune in, and not every such set is tuned in 
because of the static on the line or for other reason. 
This, however, in no way disproves the fact that the 
very atmosphere is surcharged with spiritual messages. 
Then when the instrument of reception is properly 
tuned in, the listener-in is the responsible interpreter of 
the meaning of the message. God has never been with- 
out interpreters in any age. 

We cannot too strongly insist on the validity of this 
principle. It means that personal values are the su- 
preme values, and that the individual is personally 
responsible for his life. It means that religion is pro- 
gressive, not static — faced forward and not backward. 
It also means that there is no realm of experience for 
which religion may not have a dynamic — that there is 
no experience that is incapable of religious significance 
— that whether we eat (cf. I Cor. 10, 31.) or drink or 
whatever we do, we should do it all to the glory of 
God. So is life hallowed. So shall the will of God be 
done in earth as it is in heaven. And so does religion 
become a way of life, not a body of doctrine to be in- 
tellectually assented to nor certain holy acts to be per- 
formed individually or socially. Religion thus becomes 
the servant of man's life, leading him by nobler and 
yet nobler endeavor to achieve the highest good for 
himself, his brother-man, the organized fellowship of 
the social order, and for God. 

Religious Experience 

Religion is related potentially to all life. No experi- 
ence is devoid of religious significance. But when does 


an experience become religious ? Under what conditions 
does an experience pass from the stage of inherent reli- 
gious significance to actual religious value? 

In the beginning we must distinguish between events 
and experiences. Life may be defined as a train of 
events. These events are many of them solidified by 
habitual reactions. It is well that our reactions to life 
situations should in part become habitual, but should 
all reactions to such events become habitual, life itself 
would become static and incapable of progressive de- 
velopment. It is well, therefore, that certain events 
should be consciously attended to — that they should 
become experiences, in other words. That is to say, an 
experience is an event to which conscious effort is di- 
rected. These events toward which conscious effort is 
directed, are the guarantee of human progress, for out 
of them and the issues and problems they involve come 
the new meanings, the deeper appreciations, the higher 
values of living. 

In order for such experiences, however, to yield their 
religious significance for man, they must be related to 
the ultimate personality of the universe, that is, to God. 
Manifestly then the conception that men entertain as 
to God, must have determinative influence over their 
life. As their conception of God varies, their reactions 
toward the experiences of life will correspondingly 
change. As Christians, not only our habitual reactions 
to passing events, but our conscious experiences must 
be related to God. We must be ready at any time to 
examine our habitual reactions to the events of life or 
our conscious reactions to the experiences of living in 
terms of God. When we do this we cause the inherent 
religious values to become actual spiritual forces.When 
an experience is thus interpreted in terms of our con- 


ception of God, it yields its religious significance and 
becomes vitally religious. 

Person, Personality, Character 

It is difficult to define the term person, but really we 
know what we mean. A person, certain scientists and 
philosophers say, is a mechanism, capable of reaction, 
but bound by the conditions of the situation in which 
he is found, and so a person's conduct can be accurately 
predicted, if we know the complete situation. The per- 
sonalistic concept of man is, however, quite different. 
According to this view, the person is not a mechanism, 
but an organism. He is not bound by circumstances, but 
has causal relations with them, and so is capable of 
free choice, which means that he is responsible morally 
and ethically for his conduct. No other order of being 
so far as we know except man has such responsibility. 
That man is such a person dignifies him and sets him 
off from God's other creatures and from the universe 
itself. This "person," this soul, is of such tremendous 
value according to the Christian teaching that it out- 
weighs in ultimate worth all the material things of the 
world. And so the great Interpreter of the Christian 
way of life asks this trenchant question: "What shall 
it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and 
lose his own soul?" (cf. Mark 8, 36). 

Is such a view of man as a person reasonable and 
tenable? Does science oppose it? Does history deny 
it? What is the witness of personal experience? Science 
has opposed it with its mechanistic view of life — 
whether it be one of the physical sciences or the science 
of psychology, sometimes defined as the science of 
human behavior. But the tide has turned and we now 


find physicists saying that the atom is composed of 
electrons and protons moving at prodigiously rapid 
rates of speed and that no one can predict in what di- 
rection an electron will move around its proton. Phys- 
ics, one of the physical sciences thus suggests a basis in 
the natural world for belief in the freedom of the will. 

Sir James Jeans, a distinguished British Physicist* 
says: "The Universe shows evidence of a designing or 
controlling power that has something in common with 
our own individual minds — today there is a widespread 
agreement, which on the physical side of science 
amounts almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowl- 
edge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the 
universe begins to look more like a great thought than 
like a great machine." 

It appears reasonable intellectually and respectable 
scientifically, therefore, to believe in the independent 
existence of persons, free, identifiable, responsible, 
capable of knowing other persons and God, and of en- 
tering into relations with them. History and personal 
experience certainly support and validate such a view. 

Personality we may define as the more or less stable 
organization, synthesis, or integration of the person's 
impulses, habits, attitudes, ideas, and sentiments taken 
in their total aspect, subject to modification and reor- 
ganization as new experiences and conditions are met. 
Personality is thus an achievement. It may also be con- 
ceived as the unity of the person's voluntary and hab- 
itual reactions to specific situations in the field of ex- 
perience. When personality becomes integrated in 
terms of a standard, we have character. Character 
may therefore be defined as the ethical quality of hu- 
man behavior. 

*This Mystical Universe, p. 158. Macmillan, 1930. 


Making Our Religion Personal 

Religion becomes truly personal only when it be- 
comes a functional, dynamic, motivating force in life. 
The performance of worshipful or holy acts, the in- 
tellectual assent to bodies of doctrinal belief, do not 
necessarily make religion personal. These may serve 
merely to make religion beautiful, and reasonable, and 
perfunctory. It must become a controlling enrichment 
of life and conduct if it is truly personal. Personal 
religion so conceived makes very definite and extremely 
valuable contributions to character. It refines char- 
acter. It idealizes it. It provides sanctions for the con- 
duct. It motivates it. It dynamicizes it. It integrates it. 
But, sad to say, it sometimes dogmatizes it, and when 
it does it loses its other fine qualities and becomes a 
brake on the wheels of human progress. 

Rethinking Our Religion 

Every generation manifestly needs to think its relig- 
ion and the implications of its religion through for it- 
self. The age of the radio, the airplane, the quantum 
theory, and relativity certainly cannot be satisfied with 
the religious formulations of the days that preceded it. 
As knowledge advances and experiences widen, as 
more and more men become adept in "Thinking God's 
thoughts after Him," as Kepler so reverently ex- 
pressed it, there will be need of orienting one's relig- 
ious concepts and attitudes in the field of general un- 
derstanding. It is no reflection on religion to insist that 
it too should make progress. We are under obligations 
to gain new insights into God's ways of dealing with 
men and of His ideals for them. 


In conclusion, we must not accept any statement as 
satisfying our quest for the new light that should con- 
tinually illumine our effort at making our religion per- 
sonal, but must welcome such new light from any and 
every source, testing it always by the highest values 
we know, the values revealed in the finest life men 
have been privileged to cherish, the values exemplified 
in Jesus. Thus does religion become doubly personal. 
It satisfies our personal problems through relating us 
to the Ideal Person. 



How Shall We Think of God? 

Man's Need of God 

All men are religious. For most men religion arises 
out of the sense of human insufficiency and leads to an 
outreaching to secure aid from the divine. Does this 
necessarily involve belief in God? Most of us would 
answer, yes, but some would respond, no. The atheist, 
or perhaps we had better say, the non-theist, however, 
feels his sense of insufficiency and trusts in nature or 
in the social relations of humanity to bring him the 
support he craves and must have, if he is to carry on. 

Is There a God? 

The question raised by Job — "Canst thou by search- 
ing find out God?" still requires a negative answer. It 
is still true that "no man hath seen God at any time." 
Nor can we prove the existence of God to anybody's 
satisfaction except our own, and to ourselves we do 
not need to prove it. We just know that He is and pro- 
ceed to act on our conviction. This is the biblical way, 
where God is assumed and any man who thinks other- 
wise is regarded as a fool. 

Yet there are cumulative arguments for the existence 
of God that have strengthened man's primary appre- 
hension of Him and we should know what they are. 
There is first of all the argument from the existence 


of the universe in all its beauty and orderliness. Surely 
such a world as we live in did not just happen. There 
must have been a cause. We may admit it and we do, 
but all we have by that accomplished is to suggest that 
a cause produced the universe. This does not entitle us 
to assign with confidence any particular qualities to 
this cause. Cosmic energy is a poor sort of God, yet 
that only is what we can claim from this ancient argu- 
ment from orderliness in the cosmos. We are grateful 
for this much, but it does not satisfy the heart. It is 
not enough. 

A second argument takes its origin from the evi- 
dence of design or purpose in the universe. That there 
is an adaptation principle in the world about us, few 
would deny. Does this evidence of purpose, of adapta- 
tion, of design not presume the existence of a De- 
signer? Yes, answers the devout Christian. This argu- 
ment had more authority before the days of the evolu- 
tionary hypothesis than it does today. Emergent or 
creative evolution, however, is less deterministic by far 
than original Darwinism. We may still maintain, from 
the evidence at hand that there is design in the uni- 
verse. We cannot on this basis affirm that the Designer 
is the God we worship. Some blind force may be this 
designer. We must look further. 

And so we turn to ourselves for proof that our God 
is. We know we are and we also find in our minds the 
idea of God. How did it get there? Its very presence 
in our minds we may maintain, argues the objective ex- 
istence of God. This is an ancient argument. Many are 
inclined to dismiss it as utterly futile and to say that it 
is the outgrowth of wishful thinking. While it does not 
actually prove God's existence, it is a comfort and also 


a suggestion of reality, and as such it may strengthen 

Still with our minds focussed on ourselves, we find a 
further argument growing out of the moral and ethical 
nature of man. Where did we get this moral insight 
which sets man off from other creatures? Surely there 
must be a moral Being somewhere in the universe Who 
fashioned us after Himself. This argument may com- 
fort us, may point the way, but it does not conclusively 
prove that the Christian God really exists. 

The argument from history is not without value. 
Men have all along believed in God and that belief has 
influenced their history, we are told. The Hebrews be- 
lieved that Jehovah or Jahweh prospered them when 
they did right and punished them when they violated 
His will. We can only say that history gives us com- 
fort, not proof. It may be true that God is always on 
the side of those who have the strongest battalions. 

Psychical research is coming forward in our day to 
prove the soul's survival after death and so, the ex- 
istence of God. Sir Oliver Lodge and others like him 
will no doubt have our respect for their high purpose, 
but we cannot be sure they are right. Many of the evi- 
dences they have adduced have been shown to be for- 
geries. We can wish psychic research well, but we can- 
not accept its findings as proof — not yet. For some of 
us it is true that the more we know of spiritualists, the 
less we think of spiritualism. 

Dr. J. G. Gilkey in a recent book ''Getting Help 
From Religion," advances the argument of intellectual 
or logical necessity and illustrates it by referring to a 
jig-saw puzzle. When the puzzle was completed, it was 
discovered that a piece was lost and that it must have 
been a hand. Logical or intellectual necessity required 


such a piece. So it is with God. He is necessary to ex- 
plain the universe. 

There is one other argument and it is distinctly per- 
sonal. It is not proof. I refer to the mystical argument. 
It satisfies the person himself, but nearly always leaves 
doubt in the minds of others who may dismiss it as 
wishful thinking. But the man who has had a direct 
experience of God, the man to whom God has spoken, 
is convinced of the integrity of the witness he bears. 
Blessed is the man who has had such a personal ac- 
quaintance with God! We cannot depreciate this argu- 
ment in our own case. In every generation, God has 
been directly apprehended by choice souls. They have 
become the inspired interpreters of His will to their 
fellows. They are the prophets of religion, the saints 
of daily living, the dynamic progressives of civilization. 

Ways of Knowing God 

While we may not be able objectively to prove the 
existence of God, the cumulative effect of these eight 
arguments is tremendous and makes it intellectually 
highly respectable to believe in Him. While we may 
not be able to prove our argument, those who doubt 
God's existence cannot prove their case either. We are, 
therefore, entirely right in positing God's existence as 
the best way of explaining the facts of life, and this 
reverent hearts have done in every age and in every 

We may not by searching find out God nor see Him 
at any time, but we can experience His presence and 
live according to His ideals. There are many paths 
which may lead us to Him in the experience of our 
daily life. Albert W. Palmer in "Paths to the Presence 


of God," Pilgrim, 1931 has learned five such paths — 
nature, science, humanity, worship, and Jesus. Arthur 
Bardwell Patten in "Can We Find God" knows six- 
teen such paths. The late venerable dean emeritus of 
the Vanderbilt School of Religion, Wilbur F. Tillett in 
"The Paths that Lead to God," distinguished seven 
ways to God's presence — nature, man's nature, Christ, 
the Bible, the Church, suffering and death, and reason. 

Is it not true that every path leads to God or should 
lead to Him? There is no experience from which He 
can rightfully be excluded. He may be found in the 
cathedral of praise, but also in the washtub of drudg- 
ing service. The beauty of the sunset and the majesty 
of the storm both attest His presence and His power. 
God is everywhere, interested in all our life. He is our 
inspiration, our comfort, our hope. 

The Growth of the Idea of God 

We can distinguish readily four stages in the growth 
of the idea of God among the Hebrews. When the 
scene opens, God is a God of vengeance. He becomes 
offended at men and punishes them arbitrarily. The 
next stage or phase of the Hebrew development of the 
God idea is the recognition of God as a Judge. He is 
fair. He does not punish arbitrarily, but deals with 
His people according to their deserts. Moses, the man 
associated with this view, has always been deeply ven- 
erated by the Hebrews as one of God's greatest 
prophets, and he is certainly so. He is indeed a great 
prophet whether we regard him as the originating seer 
or the adapting genius. When later on prosperity 
blessed the nation and distinctions of wealth appeared, 
some having more than they needed and others less, 
the far-seeing prophets understood their God not only 


as just, but also as kind and merciful. God became to 
them the Great Benefactor, showing mercy to His 
people, forgiving them freely when they sought re- 
conciliation with Him. 

It remained for Jesus to give men the idea of God 
that grips the heart and energizes the will of man- 
kind — that God is love. We find suggestions of this 
concept in the Old Testament as in Hosea, Jeremiah, 
and Ezekiel, but Jesus revealed God as loving Father, 
working, suffering, sacrificing, rejoicing with His chil- 
dren. He also revealed Him as personal. We shall 
have more to say of this idea of God when we come 
to consider Jesus in the spiritual development of men. 
It is the acme of spiritual revelation. All that has fol- 
lowed since is but commentary. 

And this also is to be noted — whenever the spiritual 
seers succeed in convincing their fellows that God is of 
a higher ethical character than they have been accus- 
tomed to think, a corresponding improvement occurs 
in the relations of men one with another. Men first got 
the idea that God is not a God of vengeance, but of 
justice. They then ceased to deal vengefully with their 
fellows and began to exact an eye for an eye and a 
tooth for a tooth only, not a life for a tooth. When 
they considered that God is kind and merciful, of 
course they too should exemplify these graces in their 
attitudes toward their fellows. Now that Christian 
men regard God as loving Father, they feel that they 
too must order their human relations in terms of love, 
of active good-will. The concept that men have of God 
is determinative of their attitudes toward their fel- 
lows, and this is exactly what we would expect. The 
greatest concept in the control of men's conduct is the 
conception they entertain with respect to God. 



How Shall We Understand Jesus? 
What Think Ye of Christ? 

Born in a manger, cradled in the trough from which 
the cattle ate, possessed of no property, rejected by 
the leaders of His people, crucified in his early thirties 
among malefactors, this man has become the dating 
point of all history. Why? What think ye of Christ? 
This question faced the Pharisees in the life time of 
Jesus and it faces us today. We cannot escape an 
answer. What do we think of this man who was done 
to death by those who feared the consequences of His 
teachings and yet who is more influential today than 
ever before? His influence continues to grow. And so 
the query He Himself directed to the Pharisees in His 
own day, What think ye of Christ, will not down. We 
must answer it too. 

He was a man, He lived a normal human life. With 
alert, penetrating mind He thought on the ways of 
God with man. His development was standard, for He 
increased in wisdom (mentally) and in stature (phys- 
ically) and in favor with God (spiritually) and man 
(socially). These are the four normal ways in which 
human beings develop. And yet He was so different 
from the ordinary men and women of His day that His 
contemporaries and those of the years nearest His 
earthly life had great difficulty in understanding him 
to be a man at all. The so-called Apostles' Creed has 


nothing to say about His earthly experiences after af- 
firming His birth until His crucifixion under Pilate. 
This is quite remarkable, in view of our insistence on 
His teachings and His life. Their interest in Him was 
religious, not biographical. The person of Jesus ab- 
sorbed their thinking and taxed their ingenuity for ex- 

The Christ of experience is the Christ of certainty. 
It is today as it was with General Lew Wallace. He 
set out to read the scriptures to prove Christ an im- 
poster. He was a professed atheist, but as he read with 
open mind he became convinced of his error. In Ben 
Hur he tries to give expression to his new found faith 
and to his confidence in the ultimate triumph of Chris- 
tian truth. An honest man in his case gave an honest 
report. As a man, Jesus brought God into human life. 

His Teaching and Example 

Christ's direct apprehension of God, His constant 
fellowship with Him, His insistence that all men may 
enjoy these same privileges, are by many regarded as 
His most valuable contributions to the spiritual uplift 
of the race. However, though He preached, healed, 
and taught, He was primarily the teacher and His 
teachings are invaluable to us. 

God, so Jesus taught, is a loving spiritual Father, 
deeply concerned for man, working constantly to pro- 
mote his interests, grieved when man sins, rejoicing in 
his every evidence of spiritual progress, interested in 
every circumstance of his life. God cares for man — 
what power for uplift there is in that teaching! The 
Kingdom of God thus becomes the democracy of the 
loving family. God is merciful, tender, compassioned, 


forgiving, love. What a difference this view makes in 
the outlook and the upreach of life! And this God 
loves every man equally — white, brown, black, red, 
yellow — every man; rich, poor, learned, ignorant, 
good, bad, high, low. We cling to such a God as this. 
We love Him. We worship Him. 

And what of man? God loves him, agonizes for him, 
but is he of worth, does he deserve such consideration? 
We must postpone our detailed discussion of this ques- 
tion to a later time, but we may at this point affirm 
that Jesus represents all men as brothers and as sons 
of God. As such they are undoubtedly worthy to be 
loved and should prove themselves worthy in fact. The 
gospel of Jesus, we might well say includes the two 
ideas of the love of God and the dignity of man. 

But we live in a realistic world in which idealistic 
conditions do not prevail. In our world, sin is a patent 
fact. Men may be worthy of God's love, but they are 
far from measuring up to its requirements. When men 
have sinned, is there any way of relief? Can their 
burden of sin be rolled away? Can the sinner have a 
new start? This issue also we will discuss later, but we 
cannot neglect to say here that Jesus taught the for- 
giveness of sin and complete reconciliation with God 
as fundamental concepts of the divine program. Life 
can never be the same again to those who comprehend 
the spiritual possibilities of this teaching. The sinner 
may be reconverted to God. He may be restored to 
God and to his own self-respect. 

But what of the world — the universe of things and 
that organization of men which we know as the social 
order ? We will discuss the involvements of this query 
later. However, we cannot understand Jesus without 
comprehending His view of the physical universe as 


God's creation, and as furnishing an arena for the de- 
velopment of human beings for fellowship with God. 
He believed in the essential goodness of the human 
heart and in the salvability of man personally and in 
his social relations. 

And what of the future ? Is man a worm of the dust ? 
Is he like the grass? Immortality will be the subject of 
a fuller treatment later. We may state here, however, 
that foundational in Jesus' teaching is the concept that 
man is an eternal being, that he will not pass away in 
the chemical change to which men give the name death. 
Man is essentially spirit. The body is its earthly dwell- 
ing place. We shall live forever, because we are the 
children of our Heavenly Father, so teaches Jesus. 

These five teachings answer as many searching, 
compelling age-old questions of the human heart. Is 
there a God and of what kind? What is man? Is there 
another chance at moral renewal? How shall we look 
upon the universe of things and of men in their actual 
social relations? Does this life end all? Jesus' answer 
to these trenchant issues are the best men know. They 
satisfy the heart. They quicken the conscience. 

But this would not be so, unless Jesus had in His 
own life exemplified these teachings. They were in- 
carnated in His experiences. And so He not only was 
God manifest in the flesh, but He was man at his best. 
Who can conceive of a higher type of manhood than 
that which Jesus exemplified in His life? In the slightly 
more than thirty years of His living, he revealed God 
as love, men as brothers, how sinners may be recon- 
ciled, the innate goodness and friendliness of the uni- 
verse and of the social order, and His confidence in the 
survival of man after death. In His example, we find 
our highest inspiration to live the spiritual life and to 


Him as the exemplar of the good life we can with con- 
fidence resort. 

The Meaning of His Cross 

Humanly speaking, the crucifixion of Jesus is the 
most ignominious crime ever perpetuated upon a good 
man. It is the ignominious Cross undoubtedly, but the 
ignominy attaches to the perpetrators of the deed, not 
to the good man who was nailed there. Divinely speak- 
ing, the crucifixion is a never-forgettable dramatiza- 
tion of the love of God for man and the keenness of 
His suffering in the presence of their sins. 

What we know as the atonement was achieved in 
the death of Jesus on the Cross. All Christians agree 
as to this fact, but the reasons assigned for the drama 
enacted on Calvary are many. We recognize the re- 
demptive value of the Cross, but we do not agree in 
interpreting how this atonement was achieved nor why 
it was necessary in any event. 

His death on the Cross was necessary. Of that we 
may be sure. Why did He go voluntarily to His death? 
In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed for the pass- 
ing of this cup of suffering. And yet He voluntarily al- 
lowed Himself to be arrested and crucified. He knew 
that His death on the Cross would do three things nec- 
essary to win free persons voluntarily from sin to the 
life of loving service to God and brothermen. First, 
His crucifixion would reveal the heinousness of sin. 
Men need to know this in order to be motivated to turn 
away from sin to righteousness. Secondly, men need to 
know the love of God, its compassionateness, its ex- 
tent, its complete self-giving. Spiritual beings do not 
grow into God-likeness through fear of punishment, 


but through voluntary self-surrender to love. Thirdly, 
men need to know the suffering their sins entail upon 
their loving Heavenly Father. Jesus believed that, 
could men understand that they crucify God anew every 
time they sin, that their sins break His great, loving, 
compassionate heart anew, they would have their own 
hearts broken, would repent, and would devote their 
energies to do His will on earth as it is done in 
Heaven. For these three reasons, He voluntarily went 
to the Cross, compelled it is true, but compelled mor- 

Where Is Jesus Now? 

It is the conviction of the Christian heart that Jesus 
lives and will continue to live with His Father and that 
His love for us will never grow less. We may not be 
able to explain all the seemingly conflicting accounts of 
the resurrection nor to agree on just what our Lord is 
doing now. But we are satisfied on one point — that He 
still lives, that He still loves, that His spiritual 
strength is available. We know by the record of human 
history that contact with Him makes pygmies into 
giants, transforms bad men into good ones, and out of 
the scum and refuse of humanity makes saints and 
prophets of the hopeful way. We know this, and our 
hearts rejoice. We know it, and we dedicate ourselves 
to Him. | i ; 



Do We Need the Holy Spirit in Our Religion ? 

This is Hallowe'en Night, when the spirits are 
abroad, so it is fitting, therefore, that we should to- 
night discuss the place of the Holy Spirit in the Chris- 
tian program. 

The Idea of the Holy Spirit 

Though religion in its more primitive forms set 
great store by its doctrine of spirits, Christianity is the 
only modern world religion that definitely professes 
such a belief or finds place for the concept of Spirit in 
its ideology. In other religions God has become a sort 
of all-pervasive Force or a definitely definable sort of 
Being, serene and apart. The intimate fellowship of 
Christians with God warms their hearts through their 
realization that God is present with them and leading 
their lives and thoughts. 

The monotheism of Judaism has no place for God 
the Son, nor for God the Holy Spirit. Jehovah or 
Jahweh is one and the exaltation of any other Person 
or being to the status of God is to their minds blas- 
phemy. Mohammedans feel much the same way. Chris- 
tians believe that the Holy Spirit became differentiated 
in a distinct personality at Pentecost. 

Are we therefore to understand that the Holy Spirit 
had not been operative in human hearts prior to Pente- 
cost? Some think so, but God is the same today, yester- 


day, and forever. Surely then the Holy Spirit existed 
before Pentecost and had had relations with men prior 
to that glorious experience. We are rather to believe 
that the Holy Spirit had existed from the beginning, 
but that He had not been differentiated in thought or 
a distinct personality until Pentecost. 

The Holy Spirit Today 

Doctrines are of value only as they function in our 
life. Belief in the Holy Spirit may very conceivably 
have been of real value to first century Christians. Is 
it so for us in our day? 

Jesus assigned two very definite functions to the 
Holy Spirit — comfort and the discovery of truth. But 
the comfort He had in mind was no palliative. He 
meant the comfort that comes from approving judg- 
ment on life. And so He says of the Comforter that 
"he when he is come, will reprove the world in respect 
of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (Jno. 16, 
8)" — a stern sort of comfort, but the very type men 
need if there is to be progress in their spiritual dis- 
cernment and practice. 

But the Holy Spirit is also assigned the function of 
leading men into all truth. For the Christian there are 
no forbidden areas. All truth is of God, and the dis- 
covery of truth, no matter in what realm of experience, 
is thinking God's thoughts after Him. Truth is pro- 
gressive, advancing, and the Holy Spirit will lead men 
in its discovery. 

When Harvey discovered the circulation of the 
blood, is it irreverent to say there was rejoicing in 
Heaven? When Pasteur discovered the principle of 
vaccination against certain diseases, again may we not 


say there was rejoicing, just as there is over the one 
sinner that repents ? When Copernicus and Galileo and 
Isaac Newton and Darwin and Millikan and Einstein 
introduced men into new conceptions of the physical 
universe, surely there was rejoicing in Heaven. It is 
no reflection on our religion, to find that it makes 

And yet we are so prone to want certainty that we 
regard spiritual truth as a fixity, rather than as a pro- 
gression, and foolishly identify it with that view of the 
universe which prevailed in the first Christian century. 
Sad has been the warfare of science and religion, and 
so useless, if men had understood that security amid 
change is far better than certainty amid fixity, and that 
all truth is of God. 

Progress and the Holy Spirit 

Has there been progress in understanding Jesus' 
teachings since His day? Has the Holy Spirit led men 
to see the larger, deeper meanings and values involved 
in His views of God, of man, of sin, of the universe, 
and of the everlasting life? Undoubtedly. The im- 
proved moral and spiritual condition of mankind 
proves it conclusively. When Jesus came, women and 
children had no rights which their male superiors had 
to respect. He said nothing about Women's Rights or 
Children's Rights, but He taught the supreme worth 
of persons, and God's Holy Spirit has led us to see 
that this should mean equality of the sexes in domestic 
relations, in political, industrial, educational, recrea- 
tional, and religious situations. A father may no longer 
refuse to bring up his child nor may he exploit him for 
financial gain. Parents owe certain duties to their off- 


spring. The whole educational system is being made 
over in the interest of the development of childhood. 
We no longer think of education as indoctrination, but 
as the progressive discovery, in a shared situation, of 
the meanings, appreciations, and values of life, past 
and present, and their organization into programs of 
living. Education thus ceases to be a task and becomes 
a quest. 

Jesus led no program of relief for the poor nor for 
improving the condition of prisoners, We are far from 
finality in dealing with these brethren of ours even in 
this day. But a glance at their hard and hopeless and 
helpless lot in His day heartens us greatly. In this 
twentieth century, the poor can no longer be sold into 
slavery nor be imprisoned for debt. Our prisons are 
today regarded as reformatories for restoring our 
brothers in bonds to themselves and to the social order 
against which they have transgressed. 

Slavery was a recognized institution in Jesus' day. 
He nowhere denounces it. But he did a far more ef- 
fective thing: He taught the dignity and worth of the 
individual man. God's Holy Spirit gradually and pa- 
tiently brought Christian men to realize that slavery 
is unchristian, and so it is gone. 

When Jesus came medical science was superstition 
and quackery. Today great hospitals apply through the 
ministering art of healing the discovered laws of God's 
ways with men's bodies. Skilled psychiatrists cast out 
demons from afflicted minds, only their terminology is 
different. They deal with complexes, rather than with 
demons. In no lands do we find scientific medicine in- 
digenous except in the Christian lands. One of the 
finest services our Christian missionary enterprise is 
conferring on the non-Christian peoples, is the sending 


to them of medical missionaries and nurses, and the 
installation of hospitals in their midst. 

Jesus said nothing about political democracy, but the 
germ of His teaching as to human worth has gradually 
undermined the despotisms of the world. That all just 
powers are derived by governments from the consent 
of the people is a truism with us. Men in His day ex- 
isted for their government. Now government exists to 
promote the interests of men. Larger year by year 
grows the recognition of governmental responsibility 
for the general welfare. 

Scholarship, in the inductive sense, was unknown in 
Jesus' day. There were great thinkers it is true, but 
they did their thinking apart from actual life. Learn- 
ing has flourished in the Christian lands, because God's 
Holy Spirit has through the centuries been leading men 
to discover truth. 

Surely we have need today of the Holy Spirit, both 
as a comfort to us in our moral conduct and as the 
active leader in our discovery of the truth. We have 
need of these two functions of life, whether we label 
the agent achieving them for us the Holy Spirit or call 
it by some other name. 

Knowing the Holy Spirit 

How can we know that the aspirations that stir us 
to new endeavors are the work of the Holy Spirit and 
not the result of an upward surge within? How do we 
know, let us reply, that this upward surge is not itself 
the contribution to life of the Holy Spirit? Do we 
want to do the better, the higher thing because we are 
convinced that to do otherwise would be sinful? Are 
we convinced that doing the better things we aspire to 


undertake will lead to righteousness of a higher order? 
Are we satisfied that the judgment we will pronounce 
on the consequences of the new thing we feel we should 
do because we esteem it to be higher, will be favorable 
to the preservation of personal values on a universal 
basis? Are we satisfied that the fruits of our new en- 
deavor, will promote "love, joy, peace, long-suffering, 
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self- 
control" as they would not be promoted by any other 
procedure known to us? Affirmative answers to these 
queries will be evidence that the Holy Spirit is leading 

We may not be able to explain psychologically how 
God's Holy Spirit speaks to men. Some have thought 
that the subconscious mind offers a satisfactory source 
of explanation. Others have insisted that this subcon- 
scious mind is a hangover from man's prehistoric ani- 
mal ancestry and that far from offering a medium of 
communication between God and man, it actually in- 
hibits such possibility of communication. Some deny 
that there is such a thing as the subconscious mind at 
all. No explanation that any man has at any time of- 
fered seems to satisfy all men, nor even all Christians. 
But that God should exist and that man should exist, 
and that there should be no way of communion be- 
tween them, is preposterous. Christians are certain 
that God through the Holy Spirit has spoken and does 
speak to men's consciences, and so we have moral and 
spiritual progress. And so also we have the sacred 
scriptures of the great religious systems. And so, best 
of all, we have guidance for our life and a compelling 
sense of comfort when we have met life's issues and 
solved them in such a way as our consciences approve. 


The Trinity and Monotheism 

The doctrine of the Trinity has grown up out of the 
experience of men and women through the Christian 
centuries. Can we believe in the Trinity and remain 
monotheists? No, say the Jews and the Moham- 
medans. No, say the philosophers of many schools. 
Yes, affirms the heart of the evangelical Christian, 
based on his experience. 

The doctrine of the Trinity has never given the 
author any trouble, since looking within he discovered 
that he is himself a trinity. He is will, intellect, and 
emotion. He has volitional, intellectual, and sensory 
or feeling powers. Yet he is not three persons, but one. 
There are clues in the scripture that this explanation 
is possibly correct. In the fourth gospel Jesus is de- 
scribed as the Word. But what is a word? It is the sign 
of an idea. It has to do with thought. It is concerned 
with intellect. We can begin here. God as the Son, in 
the trinitarian conception, corresponds to intellect, to 
thought, to mental power in man.. 

God as the Father is frequently associated with mat- 
ters involving decision, both in the Old Testament and 
in the New. But matters involving decision are voli- 
tional acts. God the Father then, in the trinitarian con- 
ception, may be said to correspond to will, to volition, 
to the deciding power in man. 

God as the Holy Spirit brings men to consider their 
conduct in terms of its consequences. He leads men to 
assume an attitude of approval, of appreciation, or 
the opposite, to life and its situations. But these atti- 
tudes are emotional attitudes and so we may say that 
the Holy Spirit, in the trinitarian conception, corres- 
ponds to the emotions in man, 


What my emotional life is to me, leading me to re- 
act approvingly or disapprovingly to all lines of pos- 
sible action, that the Holy Spirit is to the Trinity, per- 
forming for man the dual functions of comfort or its 
opposite and leading into all truth through affectionate 
embrace of investigative challenges. What my mental 
powers are to me, leading me to contemplate the great 
issues of life and to thread my thinking through their 
mazes, that the Son is to the Trinity, leading men to 
apply their mental processes to life and the universe 
and to their personal problems. What my volitional 
power is to me, enabling me to choose my own lines of 
action and so making me responsible for my conduct, 
that the Father is to the Trinity, leading men by His 
devoted love to choose always on increasingly higher 
planes the measures that appeal to their wills for de- 



How Shall We Regard Man ? 
What Is Man? 

Is man a victim of cosmic forces beyond his control? 
Are his reactions predictable? Do his reflexes, his 
glands, the bonds growing out of his experiential sti- 
muli and responses determine his choices? Is he a res- 
ponsible person or a mechanism? Is he temporal or 
eternal? Is he a nervous system functioning through a 
body or a soul temporarily dwelling in a body? It is 
useless to sidestep these issues. They will not down. 

On his physical side man is an organization of bone, 
flesh, and nerves. And when the chemical change called 
death occurs, the elements entering into man's body 
return to the earth whence they came, and after a com- 
paratively brief space of time as the universe counts 
time, they become indistinguishable from inanimate 
nature. This may be called the natural history of man 
— birth, a brief space of activity, dissolution, return to 
the constituent chemical elements. Man is thus like the 
grass of the field. Today it flourishes. Tomorrow it is 
cast into the oven and burned. And man is no more. Is 
this so? 

If so, life is a delusion. If so, the universe is crazy 
to preserve the inanimate substances through its law of 
the conservation of energy, and to permit its finest 
product, personal values, to be dissipated. If so, we are 
without hope in the world. If so, religious idealism is 


an impertinence. If so, all the long hard struggle for 
human progress from the philosophy of the jungle to 
the philosophy of love as the basis of social relations, 
is a snare and a useless investment of energy. If man 
is just an animal, far better would it have been for him 
if he had been content to live as such. 

Physically speaking, man is so insignificant that those 
who look only upon his body and compare it to the en- 
vironing circumstances of his life may well entertain 
such depreciating ideas respecting him. He is a mere 
speck on the surface of a second or thirdrate planet. 
He abides on this planet for a very short period only. 
Then he sleeps with his fathers and the places that 
knew him, know him no more. When the telescope is 
trained upon the stellar universe, what magnificent dis- 
tances it reveals and what magnitude in every way! 
With light moving 186,000 miles a second, stars exist 
whose light has been a million years in reaching us, and 
these stars are many of them so large that our own sun 
appears relatively insignificant.Astronomy,we are told, 
takes all the pride out of man. To which we may reply, 
"but man is the astronomer." He made the telescope. 
He records the astronomical behavior of the universe 
and photographs its facts. There would be no astron- 
omy but for man. 

Again the critic of man refers us to the microscope, 
which reveals the marvels of infinitesimal smallness. 
Atoms are so small that we cannot even imagine their 
smallness. Even these we have broken up into electrons 
and protons, and it has been shown that energy is the 
ultimate basis of all matter. Here again we retort that 
man made the microscope and records the facts. 

The biological scientists, too, have done their bit to 
discredit man. They trace his origin from the proto- 


plasmic cell and chart his development through amoeba 
and fish and bird to the finished man. We are kin to 
the lower orders of creation, blood kin to them, we are 
told. They have even told us that our progress up- 
ward has been because of natural selection and the 
ability of the fittest to survive, and that there is no 
quality in the most upstanding man that did not poten- 
tially inhere in the original protoplasm. 

Psychologically, and philosophically, and biologically 
viewed, man is the subject of his own illusions. When 
materialism appeared in philosophy, man lost his soul. 
When mechanism appeared, he lost his conscience. 
When behaviorism appeared, he lost his consciousness. 
Instrumentalism would deprive him of his belief in 
God or rather render such belief valueless by showing 
it to be a survival of superstition. "Give us all the 
facts," say the psychologists and philosophers, "give us 
all the facts and we will tell you in advance just what 
any man will do under any circumstances. No matter 
how free and responsible for his conduct any man may 
feel, it is vanity. We know better — he is a machine, vic- 
timized by cosmic forces beyond his control." Man 
they aver, is a sorry spectacle indeed. They permit him 
to be religious in that he may acknowledge the unreal- 
ized possibilities of the universe and aspire to achieve 
them, but for religion as such they grant him no need. 
The sooner we divest ourselves of the hampering re- 
strictions of the world's living religions, the better it 
will be for us, they say. Not all psychologists and phil- 
osophers, however, are of this type. This view has no 
sense of historical perspective and juggles its facts in 
order to bolster up its case. A calm and judicious facing 
of all facts, cannot but confirm us we think, in our be- 
lief that God is and that man is a spiritual being. The 


soul is coming back. Consciousness and conscience are 
already back. 

Man' 's Freedom 

Man is a person. That means he is a spiritual being, 
a soul. We are accustomed to say that man has a soul. 
We should reverse this, and say that man is a soul and 
has a body temporarily at his disposal. He is under 
obligation to make his body serve his eternal interests 
and not to allow it to enslave him. Is there evidence 
that the soul exists independent of the brain, the central 
nervous system? There are those who identify mind 
and soul, and make mind the function of the brain. Our 
view is that mind results as the soul organizes the 
brain to express its purposes in living. There is evi- 
dence to substantiate our view. There is evidence that 
the soul is able to use the brain as its medium of ex- 
pression. Accidents sometimes happen in which a cer- 
tain section of the brain, for example, the speech centre, 
is impaired. Is the presiding soul helpless in such a 
situation? Not so, in every case, for again and again 
the soul has been able to take over other unimpaired 
sections of the brain and make them serve its purpose. 
There are many instances on record where just this 
thing has taken place. One of the best discussions of 
this ability of the soul to use the nervous system as its 
medium of expression is found in Thomson's Brain and 
Personality. Another fine discussion of this matter may 
be found in Lashley's Brain Mechanisms and Intel- 

On the natural side, this would point to man's free- 
dom, though it is conceivable that a soul could have 
this ability and make use of it, and yet be circumscribed 


by an environing compulsion. There are two further 
arguments that greatly strengthen this view — the ex- 
istence of moral sense and the personal experience of 

There can be no reasonable denial that man does 
have a moral sense. His conscience lashes him or en- 
courages him. When he does right, he is happy. When 
he does wrong, he is weak and impotent and unhappy. 

Men have always acknowledged themselves as mor- 
ally responsible for their conduct and their fellows 
have agreed. This is the argument from experience for 
the freedom of man. A certain type of criminologist 
however today would account for crime on the basis of 
social responsibility. Society does have responsibility 
with the individual man for the deeds of his life — a 
joint responsibility, but in the last analysis the indi- 
vidual is accountable in his own eyes and in those of 
his fellows. The very fact that we have ethical sense 
proves that man is free, for there can be no ethical 
sense in the absence of freedom. 

How Religion Views Man 

We have spoken quite critically of the depreciating 
view held of man by some psychologists, philosophers, 
and biologists. We have not spoken more critically of 
these scientists than the facts required. .It remains to 
say that the religionists too have not always regarded 
man with high esteem. 

The Buddhists and Hindus for example agree in re- 
garding the highest iniquity in man to be his personal- 
ity. Selflessness they teach is the goal of spiritual en- 
deavor. The highest achievement of man is to be 
worthy of incorporation into the all soul. When this 


state is reached, man sheds his personality as the rep- 
tile sloughs off his enveloping and restricting skin and 
becomes truly a spiritual being, so teach Buddhists and 

Mohammedanism, on the other hand, looks upon 
man as the play-thing, the puppet, the pawn of Allah. 
Man has no rights which Allah must respect. God 
deals with His creatures as He will, arbitrarily, exalt- 
ing some and debasing others, nor do they have the 
right to protest. Their duty is obediance. 

Christianity's View of Man 

But Jesus teaches that we are children of our 
Heavenly Father and brothers one to another. We are 
under obligation to treat all men and women and chil- 
dren everywhere as our blood relations. We are en- 
dowed by God with moral freedom. We are co-workers 
with Him in making His plans and purposes known to 
all man and in building a better world. We are to work 
for the coming of His Kingdom, so that the will of 
God will be done in earth as in Heaven. We are capable 
of moral progress and also of moral lapse, but when 
we lapse our moral sense within leads us to repentance 
and when we progress, that same inner moral sense ap- 
plauds our conduct. And we are capable of endless 
moral and spiritual progress. Nor does this life end 
the possibility of our growth and development. In the 
truly spiritual world, new opportunities for progress 
will constantly allure us. So teaches Christianity and in 
this teaching we take great satisfaction of heart. 



Does Man Need Salvation? 
What Is Salvation? 

Is it an event, or a process ? Does it involve a change 
of nature or of purpose? Can man save himself or is 
divines assistance requisite? 

Some well-intentioned persons in the past have said 
that man is totally depraved. Some persons today in- 
sist on the same. Naively we are told that all we need 
to do is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be bap- 
tized, and all will be well with us eternally. Is salva- 
tion as simple as this? How is it related to faith and 
to conversion? 

What is faith? What is conversion? 

"Faith," we are told, "is the substance of things 
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. "This is very 
different from, mere intellectual assent. And when the 
sacred writer tells the Phillippian jailer to believe on 
the Lord Jesus Christ and that he and his household 
shall be saved, he -has in mind not the intellectual as- 
sent to a certain body of historical fact, but the dyna- 
mic commitment of the self to a program that will 
make the hoped for things of the heart the solid real- 
ities of actual experience. Faith, in other words, is not 
superstition, it is not shutting your eyes to facts, it is 
not credulity, it is not believing what you know is not 
so. On its intellectual side, it is accepting the best 
hypothesis we can conceive of to make the spiritual re- 


sources of the universe available. On its human side, it 
is the realization that we are morally and spiritually 
impotent and unable to heal ourselves. On its divine 
side, it is the calm conviction that God is able to give 
us strength and to qualify us to meet the emergencies 
of life. On its emotional and volitional sides, it is af- 
fectionate embrace of the most approved way of life. 
Paul had faith when he was not disobedient to the 
heavenly vision. The visionary plus the realist make 
the man of Christian faith. 

Faith then involves God. It involves the conviction 
that God is able and willing to supply our inabilities. 
When we are injured physically, how are we healed? 
Not by ourselves. Skilled physicians may set my broken 
bone and apply antiseptics to prevent infection. They 
can cooperate with the restorative powers of my body 
in providing conditions conducive to healing. But they 
cannot heal. Healing must come from the body itself 
and the surrounding environment. Just so, when I am 
spiritually sick, because I am part and parcel of the 
spiritual universe, I can cooperate in supplying the 
conditions requisite for my spiritual restoration, but I 
cannot heal myself. I can repent for my sins, but my 
spiritual healing must come from God. 

Conversion and Christian Nurture 

This makes it clear that the experience of salvation 
is a growing process. We need it constantly when we 
face the issues of our life and realize that we must 
venture upon paths untrodden before or when we look 
at our present path and realize it is not the best way 
to our goal. The beauty of this progressive view of 
the salvation experience consists in its constantly en- 


larging program for life. There are many paths that 
we may take. Some are better than others. If we take 
any path other than the best, the divine grace is ac- 
cessible to enable us to face about and go the best way. 

"But," say some, "this is not salvation. It is Fatherly 
care. We cannot grow into grace, but only in grace 
after we have been saved." What is conversion any- 
way? Is it a change in nature or is it a redirection of 
the purposes of life? Are we really made in the image 
of God or is the impress of that image upon us due to 
a voluntary act of our wills? Are we actually God's 
offspring or do we make ourselves such? The convic- 
tion grows on men that they are God's children. We 
know that we are free moral beings and that we are 
responsible for our acts. As experience widens and new 
issues arise, we must choose our outcomes. Being free, 
we sometimes choose an outcome that appeals to us at 
the moment, but later we find that there is a better 
way. We commit ourselves to this better way. We turn 
about partially or wholly as the new insight requires 
in each instance. This is conversion. It does not neces- 
sitate a change in nature, though often we find our- 
selves loving the things we once hated and hating the 
things we formerly loved. Conversion is an act of the 
will. It is accordingly a full, voluntary, free decision to 
commit ourselves to a line of action in accordance with 
what our judgment indicates to be the will of God, and 
so it is a redirection of all our energies. Psychologically, 
this is explained as an integration of the life around a 
new purpose. It too is a growing process. It brings with 
it a sense of calm, of peace, of inner joy, and also of 
propulsive power. 

Is nurture all that we need in the Christian life? 
There can be no doubt that many Christians today 


have been brought up in Christian homes and have 
never thought of themselves as other than citizens of 
the Kingdom of God. They have erred it is true, they 
have sinned, but they erred or sinned as citizens, not 
as aliens. But there are persons whose home surround- 
ings were not thus fitted to lead them by the process 
of nurture into a normal and natural spiritual awaken- 
ing and commitment. And sad to say, there are some 
who have strayed even from Christian influences of the 
best into lives of dissipation and sin. Such persons need 
a violent type of conversion. There will for a long time 
to come and perhaps always be a need for this type of 

Man and Suffering 

Suffering has appalled men in every generation. 
Strong men continue to be broken in spirit by it, and 
some endeavor to escape by suicide. Saints are mysti- 
fied by its presence. Why do men suffer, we ask. Va- 
rious answers have been given: that it purifies; that it 
refines; that it has vicarious value; that it acquaints 
with God, because He suffers when His children do 
wrong; that love requires suffering when those we love 
fall below their best selves. Darwin said it is the cost 
of the evolutionary process. Malthus said it is the 
method by which the earth's surplus population is re- 
moved. Hegel said that suffering is "good in the 
making." It is the result of sin, say others. It is re- 
medial say some, reformatory, expiatory. Still others 
regard is as a species of warning. All these points of 
view suggest that an explanation is yet to be found. 

What did Jesus say about it? He suffered and surely 
knew its plan in spiritual development. He commanded 


His disciples to love one another as He had loved them. 
The Christian therefore must live in a constant state 
of voluntary sacrificial self-giving. This prince of the 
spiritual realm went further even, for He pronounced 
a blessing on those who suffer. "Blessed are they that 
mourn," said He, "for they shall be comforted." But 
how shall they be comforted? By the removal of the 
causes of suffering. 

In response to this beatitude, great hospitals have 
arisen for the healing of men's bodies and patient in- 
vestigators search for the causes of disease and so for 
its eradication. Orphanages too have sprung up to give 
the under-privileged childhood of the race a compar- 
able chance. Great reforms also in the home, in the 
school, in the state, in industry, in the uses of leisure, 
in the church have been instituted to remove the ham- 
pering causes infesting men's lives and preventing 
them from joyous self-expression in service. Jesus' doc- 
trine of suffering thus becomes the dynamic of man's 

Should We Pray? 

Since we are subject to natural law, is prayer un- 
availing? Were devout men of former days, who be- 
lieved in the efficacy of prayer and practised it, de- 
luded? Why did Jesus pray? 

We are subject to natural law on our physical side, 
but we are more than our bodies. We have seen that 
man is a soul and that the body is its instrument, and 
so prayer is as natural as breathing and as necessary to 
spiritual vitality. 

We do not necessarily assume that through prayer 
we will change the mind of God. At all times He wills 


the very best for His children. Through prayer we 
come to understand God's plan for us and make His 
spiritual guidance available in our life. Prayer has 
many elements. Among them are praise, intercession, 
communion, meditation, petition for blessings and guid- 
ance, forgiveness, gratitude, all of which appear in the 
Lord's prayer or pervade it, and so it may be taken 
as a model for inclusiveness. 

Does prayer change things? Does anything happen 
when we pray? A motto of the "Men and Religion 
Movement," was this — "You cannot do more than 
pray, till you have prayed." Another was, "We should 
pray as if it all depends upon God, and act as if it all 
depends on us." A third gripping motto said — "The 
resources of God are promised only to those who un- 
dertake the program of God." Prayer does change 
things. It may not produce rain, but it can change men, 
and it does. When we have prayed, we are different 
persons and have an added power. 

By all means men need to pray and to pray without 
ceasing. This means we should always be ready to seek 
God's help in any time of need. It also means that we 
are not to limit our prayer life to times and seasons, 
places or methods. The prayer life is to be natural, 
free, flowing, growing. To programize it will be to de- 
prive it of spontaneity. It must ever be the soul's sin- 
cere desire whether uttered or unexpressed. 

Phases of Salvation 

Salvation grows, progresses, advances, we have said. 
It has various phases. One phase of salvation may be 
called personal. Christian in Bunyan's "Pilgrim's 
Progress" illustrates it. 


A second phase is what we may call social. The in- 
dividual has found a new joy. He wants to share it 
with his brothers and sisters. He becomes what we call 
a personal worker. The missionary spirit is innate in 
religion. A man who is socially minded does not care 
to be saved alone. He would rather go to hell with the 
rest of the folk than to be the only person saved. 

A third phase may be called the societal. Men have 
organized certain institutions designed to serve their 
life, but as civilization advances and personal and so- 
cial good multiply, it is discovered that these institu- 
tions have been left behind. This can only mean there- 
fore that political organizations, that industry, that 
education, that the home, that whatever ministers to 
the leisure life of man, that the institutionalized church 
must all become Christianized. How the world stands 
in need of societal salvation! 

When salvation truly fruits in a man's life, the lower 
orders of creatoin will know it. Herein is found a 
fourth phase of salvation. The saved man will treat 
his dog, his cat, his cow, his flowers, his trees, even the 
inanimate things round about him differently. 

Salvation, we now thus summarize, is personal, so- 
cial, societal, and functionally inclusive. The pagan, 
but tenderhearted poet Vergil, sensed this fact of ex- 
perience when he spoke of the "tears of things," "la- 
chrymae rerum." The saved man will preach the gospel 
in all the world and to the whole creation. Surely man 
stands in need of salvation, which brings him such 
everwidening moral insights and at the same time sup- 
ports his morale in his efforts to achieve the good life. 



How Was the World Created? 
The Creative Act 

I make a table and my friends say it is my creation. 
Perhaps it is but I made it out of materials already ex- 
istent. I write the words of this lecture. Again my 
friends say it is my creation, but it is very largely the 
composite resultant of ideas already existent. If there 
should be ideas in it that have never been expressed 
before, we would say it is singularly creative. But it 
may be affirmed that it has not originated from that 
which had no prior existence. 

When we use the word creation today with reference 
to the universe, we do not mean what is suggested in 
the opening chapter of our Bible — that the world has 
always existed, only its form has changed from chaos 
to cosmos. Creation to us must go behind the chaotic 
world to the Great First Cause. We mean by creation 
that something original happened. It is a deep and 
mystifying problem. We can only base our thinking 
therefore on the evidence we can discover and where 
evidence ends, make a hypothesis that appeals to us. 

There are two such explanations of creation today. 
They are the mechanistic and the theistic views. There 
seems to be abundant evidence that unchanging con- 
sequents follow the same antecedent in our physical 
universe. This is a generalization, but so far it has 
worked. Indeed science is based on the assumptions 


that our senses accurately report the facts of the phys- 
ical world and that these facts are always the conse- 
quence of unfailing laws. We cannot prove either of 
these assumptions, but science must have a taking off 
place, and these hypotheses appear to scientists to be 
tenable. Given what we used to call matter and its 
ways, the scientist thinks he needs nothing further to 
account for the universe and all that in it is. The uni- 
verse is so far as we can see, therefore a machine and 
needs no explanation. 

The openmindedness of the scientist appeals to us. 
He is humble in the presence of a fact. He rejoices 
when any theory which seemed beforehand to be ten- 
able is shown to be discredited. When some physicist 
discovers that the atom is not an ultimate constituent 
of matter, but is itself a product of electrons and pro- 
tons, his fellow physicists do not issue anathemas of 
condemnation against the impiety of this man who has 
thus attacked scientific orthodoxy at its very origin. 
Rather they ardently welcome the suggestion and set 
out to see if this thing is so. Thus belief in the rotund- 
ity of the earth revolving around the sun has displaced 
the conception of a flat earth as the center of the solar 
system. Newton's law of gravitation, the principle of 
the conservation of energy, the quantum theory, the 
whole astronomical conception of the universe, the fun- 
damental tenets of physics — all appear to need modi- 
fication in view of Einstein's theory of relativity. No 
body of scientists has anathematized this brilliant Jew 
for having found what he believes to be the funda- 
mental law of the universe. No matter what this rel- 
ativity theory may do for scientific orthodoxy, if it ap- 
pears to be a congruent generalization based on an ac- 
curate description of facts, it must be accepted and all 


the books of science must be rewritten to conform to 
its cosmogony. The scientist knows there is no need to 
argue against a fact, and so he accepts facts and pro- 
ceeds to adjust his thinking and theorizing to them. 

The Scientific Evolutionist 

Three things must be said relative to the scientific 
explanation of the universe. In the first place, it is ex- 
actly the same in its fundamental concept as the record 
in Genesis. It presumes the prior existence of matter. 
Its conception of the creative act or process, therefore, 
is the modification of existent materials through the 
evolutionary procedure. The scientist therefore, does 
not presume to answer our deepest question. Nor does 
the creation account in Genesis answer it. 

In the second place, the scientific evolutionary proc- 
ess mechanically operative does not account for all the 
facts of life and experience. It does not account for 
purpose in the world. It does not account for God. In 
fact its whole tendency is to dispense with God. These 
are fatal failures. 

And finally, in the third place, the scientist ceases to 
be a scientist and becomes a philosopher when he un- 
dertakes to interpret the religious and spiritual signif- 
icance of his observations. It is the business of the 
prophet, not of the scientist, to speak to men of the 
spiritual significance of the findings of scholars respect- 
ing the universe and its laws. Few scientists have the 
prophetic insight. 

The Theistic Evolutionist 

The theistic interpreter of creation rests his case 
also upon two assumptions: first, that God created the 


world as an original act and second, that all the laws 
which men may discover as operative in the universe 
are but God's way of doing things. 

The theist is not troubled by a revolving world, nor 
by evolution, nor by electrons, nor by relativity. All 
these ideas are to him but God's methodolgy in crea- 
tion. He also distinguishes between the body of man 
and the soul that inhabits it. He is not alarmed when 
the scientist tells him that the natural man developed 
by slow processes from the primordial protoplasmic 
cell. Nor is he troubled to explain the presence of pur- 
pose in the evolutionary process. His belief in God ac- 
counts for that fact. Progress is more than a fact to 
him. It is ascribable to the divine volition, for God is 
to him the original progressive. Evolution is there- 
fore God's method of creation — that and nothing more. 

His theistic view also accounts for the spiritual na- 
ture of man, which is outside the evolutionary process. 
Just as God created the universe by an original act, so 
He made man in His own image. When God had made 
man in His own image, man's spiritual nature became 
transmittable through the germplasm just as his phys- 
ical frame was so transmittable. The theistic evolu- 
tionist thus accounts for man's freedom and his moral 
aspiration by his hypothesis. He feels that his view 
accounts for all the facts of the universe, including man 
and the imponderables. 

Religion and Progress 

The theistic view of the creation has one exceedingly 
valuable suggestion to make to the religionist — that 
our religious conceptions should advance with widening 


experience and deepening insight. Religion needs to 
accept the idea of progress and to adjust its attitudes 
toward new discoveries accordingly. 

Religion has been greatly hampered by the author- 
itarian view. Progressive religion is released from this 
spiritual bondage. It is an adventure with God in 
spiritual discovery. 

Belief in the fixity of things and ideas is all the more 
inexplicable when we come to fixed notions of the uni- 
verse. Why should religious men identify their religion 
with any particular world view? Why did the Church 
oppose the idea of a round earth revolving around the 
sun? Why should Darwin be execrated and denounced 
as an atheist because he had discovered as he thought 
the principle of evolution in the physical world? The 
warfare of religion on science is one of the saddest 
chapters in the record of civilization. The heresy trials 
of the church are a disgrace to its intelligence; far 
more, they are a blot on its fundamental concept. In an 
advancing world, the religious man has God. To this 
concept he is anchored. All else is fleeting, and is not 
this all he needs? 

The Christian View of the World 

The world means two things to the Christian — the 
world of things and the world of men. We have al- 
ready treated the latter concept in our discussion of 
salvation which we found to be more than personal. 
The real gospel is also societal and inclusive of the 
total realm of experience. Jesus came not to condemn 
the world of men in their organized and institutional- 
ized relations, but to save the world. John 3:16-17 
makes this perfectly clear. Here the personal and so- 


cial gospel, the complete gospel, is epitomized as no- 
where else in the sacred writing. 

But what shall the Christian think of the world of 
things? How did it become to be? Did God create it in 
six days of twenty-four hours each? That is what the 
opening chapters of Genesis affirm. There is no con- 
vincing evidence to show that the word "day" in this 
biblical account of the creation signifies other than its 
ordinary connotation. Any attempt to make it mean an 
unlimited period of time rests upon a mistaken notion 
of God's revelation to men. We have seen that He 
does reveal Himself, but that men can understand Him 
only according to the standards, insights, and outlooks 
of their own day. It is remarkable how the writer of 
the creation story in Genesis, without the scientific 
method had such clear insight into the stages of crea- 
tion. That there are contradictions in the two accounts 
given us there and certain items which patient investi- 
gation since the publication of Darwin's "Descent of 
Man" has shown untenable, in no way invalidates the 
religious significance of the accounts we have. The 
story is theo-centric. It derives from God. "In the be- 
ginning God" — that is the way our Bible begins and 
there we take our stand. The religious significance of 
the Genesis account is an undeniable tonic to the soul. 

But we are not bound by the cosmological ideas of 
the Genesis writer nor are we to be prevented by them 
from accepting later discoveries illustrating the truth 
that God made the world and that without Him was 
not anything made that was made. In other words, we 
do not go to our Bible for our science, but to nature. 
We go to the Bible for ethical insight and moral aspira- 
tion, for the record of God's dealings with man, to 
discover how deeply religious men in another land and 


generation experienced the love of God, and we come 
away satisfied, satisfied even though we find evidences 
of progress in men's understanding of ethical conduct, 
of moral behavior, of God Himself. But we do not 
feel obligated to accept the conception of the universe 
which was prevalent in that prescientific day, any more 
than we accept the despotic forms of government under 
which they lived and in spite of which they found God. 
The Bible is to us therefore the great storehouse of 
religious insight. It is not a book of science nor a 
treatise on government. Failure to see this has red- 
dened the pages of history with the blood of the saints. 

Evolution and the Future 

We have said that man's spiritual nature is outside 
the evolutionary process. That is true only as to its 
origin and in order to distinguish man the soul from 
the body his habitat. For after the creative act by 
which God breathed into man, the body, the breath of 
life in which he became a living soul, his whole history 
has been characterized by progress. Will the evolu- 
tionary, the progressive, the developmental process 
ever cease? 

Christians are convinced that in Jesus we have the 
perfect revelation of God and that in Him spiritual 
perfection was attained. It is true that we get con- 
stantly enlarging conceptions of His nature, of His 
teachings, of His purposes, but this is due to our in- 
ability in any moment of time completely to under- 
stand. It is not strange that every new plan or method 
or concept of teaching finds its initial practice in Him. 
He was the perfect teacher and made men's life-experi- 
ences the basis of His curriculum. We hail this as a 


thoroughly modern idea and so it is, but Jesus prac- 
tised it in His day. All our new discoveries in ethical 
principle, in moral concept, in spiritual excellence are 
but inferential interpretation of Him and His teach- 
ing. He does not change, but our conceptions of Him 
vary with the processes of the sun. 

We know that in the practice of our understanding 
of the spiritual verities we have a long road ahead of 
us. For us progress and life cannot be separated, and 
evolution is but another name for the achievement of 
the more abundant life. Our idea of God the loving 
Father, of Jesus as His perfect revelation, of the Holy 
Spirit as His daily interpreter, and of progressive ad- 
vancement in spiritual concept and endeavor as the ex- 
periential goal, satisfies the profound and elemental 
longings of our hearts, and so to us life becomes the 
adventurous discovery, in shared situations, of new 
meanings, more uplifting appreciations, and fresher 
and deeper values, which we must organize into ef- 
fective programs for the progressive realization of 
God's evolving program in the world. 



Do We Need the Church? 
The Nature of the Church 

The Church is not responsible we wish at first to 
say, for the "mess we are in." Nor is it the business of 
the church to initiate or sponsor specific measures of 
reform. The present situation is the resultant of eco- 
nomic, industrial, political and other forces outside the 
control of the Church. The Church should motivate 
men to live the good life in whatsoever condition they 
may chance to find themselves, and should leave to 
their quickened consciences the matter of reformative 
programs. This is good Americanism and it is also 
good Christianity. The Church is a political force, but 
let us not make it a political party. 

Just as we have priests and prophets in the field of 
religious leadership, just so do we have two views of 
the Church — the sacramentarian and the voluntary, 
the imperialistic and the democratic, the Roman 
Catholic and the Protestant, with all the gradations in 

To the devout Catholic the Church is the channel of 
the divine grace. There is no salvation aside from the 
Church. From this fundamental tenet follow the hi- 
erarchy with its pope, its cardinals, its bishops, its 
priests, all imparting the divine blessing to whomsoever 
they will and withholding where it pleases; and from 
this fundamental tenet also flow the confessional, 


penance, worship, the sacraments of the Church, etc. 
There is consistency at least in the Catholic viewpoint 
and those who believe in the kind of spiritual set-up 
which their concept of the religious life presupposes, 
find no little comfort in the Church. 

The Protestant, however, insists on his freedom of 
approach directly to God. He does not need to go to 
the Most High by way of the minister or the altar. He 
is himself a king and a priest unto God. (Rev. 5, 10). 
He therefore goes to Church or not as he elects, and 
usually he elects to go only if the Church program 
suits him. The Church is to him not a channel of di- 
vine grace, but a voluntary group of persons associ- 
ating themselves together because of their allegiance 
to Jesus. 

In any case both Catholic and Protestant agree in 
one particular, that it is the indwelling spirit of Jesus 
that constitutes the Church. The Catholic thinks that 
spirit is procured for the local groups of the Church 
and for the Church universal through the mediation 
of the hierarchy. The Protestant however believes 
that the free individual is filled by the spirit of the 
Christ and that he thereupon seeks out other persons 
who have experienced a similar in-filling and together 
they organize the Church as their voluntary act. Both 
Catholics and Protestants acknowledge their allegiance 
to and dependence upon Christ, but they have widely 
divergent methods of expressing the fact. It is most 
encouraging however to find agreement between these 
two groups on a matter so vital. 

The Function of the Church 

Different views as to the function of the Church are 
regnant today. An ancient confessional of the Church 


admonished us that the chief end of man is, to glorify 
God and to enjoy Him forever. Is this the function of 
the Church? Certainly, if it is not narrowly inter- 
preted and if it is not based on a depreciative concep- 
tion of human worth and integrity. We cannot know 
God without knowing His children and we cannot en- 
joy Him at all except as we bring joy to those children. 
That is the function of the Church — to make the pur- 
pose of God effective in the world, in terms of the re- 
velation of God in Jesus and as interpreted progres- 
sively by the Holy Spirit. 

Church and State 

The Church is in a difficult situation in all parts of 
the world in our day. In democratic America, honor- 
able persons are being refused citizenship because they 
will not place their consciences in the keeping of Con- 
gress, while Christian young men in State institutions 
of higher learning are being forced in violation of 
their consciences to join the R. O. T. C. The Greek 
Orthodox Church has been routed in Russia. Musso- 
lini has asserted the control of the Fascist state over 
the youth of Catholic Italy, the priests of the Catholic 
Church are being banished from Mexico, and Protes- 
tantism is being "totalitarianized" in Germany by Hit- 
lerism. The Church must resist these encroachments, 
or lose its soul. But there must be separation of Church 
and state. 

How is the Church Related to Industry? 

Just at this present time because of our economic 
stress, leaders in our churches are insisting that the 


Church is to blame by neglect at least for the situation 
in which we find ourselves and that therefore the 
Church should do something about it. Every general 
church gathering held within the last few years has 
issued a pronouncement on our industrial system. One 
of them at least has created a "Council for Social 
Action." They naively assume that the profit motive is 
unChristian and the capitalistic system is demonic.They 
would abolish both the profit motive and the capital- 
istic system, and would set up a kind of socialistic state. 
That there are abuses in the pursuit of profit as a mo- 
tivating principle for business enterprise, there can be 
no mistaking. Likewise there are abuses in the proce- 
dures of not a few capitalists and captains of industry. 
The Soviet government in Russia has proceeded on 
the basis that a new economic order will cure all our 
social ills. Those who agree with them should go to 
Russia and help them in their program. It does not 
appear at this distance to be working with 100% per- 
fection. A good demonstration there would be of in- 
estimable value to the world. 

The Church and the Kingdom of God 

The Church has a definite responsibility for the 
Kingdom of God. While this Kingdom is within the 
individual Christian, it must inevitably express itself 
in social relationships. We are to pray that this King- 
dom may come in earth as in heaven. The doing of 
God's will insures the Kingdom's establishment. The 
Jews of Jesus' day had suffered so terribly at the hands 
of their oppressors that they could only retain their 
faith in God by believing that He would suddenly 
establish His rule in the earth and exalt them to the 


place of leadership in that Kingdom. This is known as 
the apocalyptic view of the Kingdom's coming. These 
oppressed and suffering Jews looked for a worldly Mes- 
siah, who would avenge their injuries, redress their 
wrong, and exalt them among the nations. The situa- 
tion in modern Germany may lead to a similar doc- 
trine in our day. 

When Jesus came many Jewish leaders were disap- 
pointed. He had no patience with force. Vengeance 
was entirely foreign to His nature. He prayed for His 
enemies and for those who despitefully used Him, even 
for those who took away His life on the Cross. And 
what was more disappointing, He taught His disciples 
to do the same thing and to resist not evil, but to love 
it to shame and repentance. 

A strange interpretation of this whole situation is 
that offered by no less a Christian leader than the 
great medical missionary, Albert Schweitzer.* He ar- 
gues that Jesus Himself taught His disciples to expect 
His sudden return, because He too was committed to 
the apocalyptic program of the Kingdom. Proceeding 
from this fundamental conception, all Jesus' teachings 
take on value only for a brief period between the ascen- 
sion and the expected return in power. He calls them 
"ethics for the time in between." He does not think 
that Jesus' teachings therefore apply to the realistic 
world in which we find ourselves and if He had really 
known that His apocalyptic views were a delusion, He 
would never have delivered the sermon on the mount, 
nor taught non-resistance, nor advocated love among 
men as the great dynamic life-principle, nor prayed for 
His enemies, nor voluntarily have gone to His death. 

*The Quest of the Historical Jesus. Macmillan, 1910. 


And yet this strange theology has sent Dr. Schweitzer 
out into darkest Africa to practice the healing art be- 
cause he endorses Jesus' spirit of devotion to what He 
conceived to be right. We cannot but admire a man 
who so nobly devotes himself to human service. We 
reject his theology and what is popularly known as his 
"debunking" of the Galilean. We approve and applaud 
his Christian life. 

There are those however who still adhere to the 
apocalyptic coming of the Kingdom. Like the early 
Christians they rationalize the expectation by saying 
that God and man do not compute time alike — that a 
thousand years in His sight are but as yesterday when 
it is past. In this matter Einstein's relativity may 
help them. They expect the world continually to grow 
worse — they assert it has grown worse, despite all the 
evidences of progress that surround us — until God 
shall not be able longer to endure its iniquity, and will 
destroy it except for the elect, who will be caught up 
unto heaven, etc., according to the premillenarian pro- 

This view of the Kingdom's coming really belittles 
God. It means that God will be defeated in His world, 
that love is not the compelling power Jesus believed, 
that man is as a race incapable of spiritual achievement 
and so deserves destruction. Those who get comfort 
out of this pessimistic view are entitled to it. But the 
promise of scripture is clear that every knee eventually 
will bow and every tongue confess. The great commis- 
sion to preach the gospel to the whole creation holds, 
and "faith, hope, and love" abide. God will not be de- 
feated in His world. Men are free — He made them 
so — but they are also capable of love and prone to 
choose its pathway. 


The Kingdom will come by slow processes, we be- 
lieve. Progressive realization is its chief outward char- 
acteristic, just as love is its inner motive principle. The 
kings and priests of the Most High will devote them- 
selves willingly, wholeheartedly to its advancement. Its 
spiritual leaven will silently, gradually, assuredly per- 
meate the whole lump of human life — home, state, 
school, leisure, industry, church — and transform it into 
the commonwealth of God. Charged with peculiar 
responsibility in this progressive reconstruction of life 
and the social order stands the Church, the voluntary 
organization of Christ-minded men dedicated to the 
effective realization of His spirit in all experience. It 
is a challenging task. How shall we go about it? 

The Program of the Church 

Christian leaders are beginning to see that the 
Church is essentially and vitally an educational insti- 
tution. They call this educational work, religious edu- 
cation. They are agreed also that the Church should 
aim in its program of religious education to provide 
for worship, for fellowship, for counseling, for activ- 
ities, for the progressive understanding of the divine 
purpose through the learning-teaching situation. These 
provisions should spread themselves out into all the 
relations of life — domestic, political, educational, leis- 
ure, industrial, religious. There is no domain or realm 
of life in which the Church does not have a stake. 

The Church and Sectarianism 

Jesus was no schismatic. He attended the synagogue 
services and made pilgrimages to the temple at Jeru- 


salem. He prayed for the oneness of His followers 
and gave as the reason for it — that the world might 
believe that God had sent Him (John 17, 21). We 
give ourselves to missions at home and abroad, to 
evangelism, to benevolent enterprises, to religious edu- 
cation, to social service, to publications, and in so doing 
we do well, but we do not do the best. We are dealing 
with peripheral matters when we expend our energies 
in these causes. The central condition of success for 
the program of Jesus in the world is the oneness of 
His followers. 

No less a leader than John R. Mott, world citizen 
of the Kingdom, says that "a lost world is the price 
we pay for a divided Christendom." The Church is 
impotent in so many directions because of its denomi- 
national spirit. We cannot bring our united Christian 
conscience against war to bear on the governments of 
the world, because of our divided condition. Denomi- 
national disarmament must precede international dis- 
armament. What can the two hundred and more com- 
peting, sectarian, denominational groups of Christians 
do against the united will of strong nations determined 
selfishly to pursue their national interests at the point 
of the sword? We abdicate our right to speak for the 
sanctity of persons in our present enfeebled condition. 
And the nations will continue to make our sons cannon 
fodder and gas victims until we answer the prayer of 
Jesus for the oneness of His followers. 

Even the missionary program of the Church is ter- 
ribly handicapped by the sectarian spirit. No part of 
the Laymen's Report on Missions has received severer 
criticism, than its recommendation that the denomina- 
tions should raise money for missions to be admin- 
istered by a central board. (The Near East College 


Association has been doing this for many years for the 
colleges of that area.) We are told that this simply 
will not work. Of course it will not work, if the de- 
nominational spirit is to dominate and control men's 
giving and the expenditure of the funds they give. The 
end of denominationalism, at least of sectarianism, 
seems to be the price we must pay for a Christianized 
world. The Church cannot accomplish its work of 
moral and spiritual leadership, divided as it is. That 
program must suffer defeat, or denominational sec- 
tarianism must go. Are we willing to pay the price of 
an inclusive church — a church that is animated by the 
love of God and for the sake of Christ will welcome to 
its fellowship persons of all shades of theological be- 
lief, requiring only that they shall accept Christianity 
as a way of life and dedicate themselves to walking in 
its path as they shall discern it? This is the price we 
must pay in toleration, in mutual respect, in genuine 
appreciation of variant views, if we are to answer 
Christ's prayer and make His Church victorious in all 
the realms of human experience. Let us rejoice that 
two world Conferences have been held to discover a 
way or ways of effecting Christian union — the Stock- 
holm Conference on Life and Work (1925), and the 
Lausanne Conference on Faith and Order (1927) and 
that this summer both these groups are to hold second 
conferences in the British Isles. Let us rejoice likewise 
that Congregationalists, Methodists, and Presbyterians 
in Canada, that Christians and Congregationalists, 
that Unitarians and Universalists in the United States, 
that Evangelical and the Reformed Churches in the 
United States, that Presbyterians in Scotland, and the 
Methodists in England have already united. We were 
a long time getting this way. It may take us a long 


time to get out of it. But eventually we will. Jesus 
prayed that we might, and His prayer will be answered. 
He is "the Way."* 

Do we need the Church? To ask is to answer. Of 
course we need the Church. We need it because it is 
the institution designed to exalt Jesus in the world. 

*This is the essence of the E. Stanley Jones' recommendation that 
we should have a United Church in America with denominational 
branches. It is certainly encouraging that no less a consecrated layman 
than John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in a broadcast on February 17, 1937, 
has endorsed this view. This too is the essence of the Laymen's Ap- 
praisal of Missions, as set forth in the volume* entitled, "Re-Thinking 



Of What Value is the Bible? 

Tomorrow is Bible Sunday. It is fitting therefore 
that we should consider the value of this unique book 
in our broadcast tonight. 

The Influence of the Bible 

The Bible continues to be our best seller. Each year 
the presses in the Christian nations turn out millions 
of copies. The public purchases them. Men do not 
spend money for that which satisfies not. It is no ex- 
aggeration to say that our Bible is the most influential 
book of history. Our American Bible Society, organ- 
ized in 1816, has published no less than 237,000,000 
copies of the gospels, testaments, and complete Bibles. 
It circulates the scriptures annually in more than one 
hundred and seventy-five languages and dialects, and 
employs in the work of distribution in the non-Chris- 
tian lands nearly four thousand agents. The British 
Bible Society has an equally successful record, while 
the several denominations have not failed in their duty 
or privilege along this line. Men go to the Bible for 
insight, for inspiration, for comfort, for guiding life- 
principles, and their heart hunger is satisfied. Our 
Christian scriptures tell us how men have faced every 
type of human experience and were yet able to hold 
fast to their confidence in God. Manifestly such a book 


has a unique value and has exerted and will continue to 
exert a wide influence. 

Is the Bible God's Work? 

We have such reverence for our Bible that to us it 
has become God's word. But it is not God's only word. 
God has not yet ceased to speak to men nor will He 
ever cease. The Bible means more to us than it did to 
our fathers and grandfathers. It will mean more to 
our descendants that it does to us, and in this we 
should rejoice. Wisdom will not perish with us nor will 
fresh insights into God's program cease. We will al- 
ways have need of the priestly function in religion, by 
which we mean the function of initiating men into the 
religious experiences of the past, rich in witnessing, 
ritual, and encouragement for living. But there will 
always be the correlative need of the prophetic func- 
tion, by which we mean leading men into new concepts, 
fresh meanings, more affectionate appreciations, a 
keener and more penetrating sense of values. And so 
we will revere the Bible of our Fathers, but at the 
same time we will appreciate the spirit of the song- 
writer who speaks of "The Bible According to you." 

This dignifies man. It brings the Bible into the service 
of life and challenges man to make it the efficient ally 
of his spirit. Any man who can see a deeper spiritual 
meaning in the Bible than men have seen before, who 
can discover from its reading and study a more help- 
ful principle for the guidance of life — is a benefactor 
of his kind and prophet of God. Horace Bushnell was 
such a man, with his insistency on the spirituality of 
life. Phillips Brooks was such a man, with his clarion 
annunciation that God cares for every man. Wesley 


was such a man, with his insistence on the life wholly 
surrendered to God. Knox was such a man, with his 
proclamation of the independence of the church from 
the domination of the civil state. Paul was such a man, 
with his doctrine of the liberal spirit questing for God 
and as not bound by the shackles of the law which had 
served as a school-master, but must not control the 
whole of man's life. Jesus did not hesitate to set aside 
the scriptures. "Ye have heard that it hath been said 
by them of old time — but I say unto you." This was 
His attitude and it incensed the ecclesiastics of His 
day. Fie believed in the Bible, quoting it on the Cross 
and urging men to search it as revealing Himself, but 
He did not propose to bind men's lives by any literal 
interpretation of it. Jesus evidently believed that the 
Holy Bible was made for man, not man for the scrip- 
tures, and that the Bible according to the individual, 
earnest Christian is the living Bible. 

Is the Bible God's word? Undoubtedly. The men 
whose experiences of God it records were conscious of 
their direct apprehension of the Divine. To them, in 
terms of their experience and in the light of their 
world-view, the Bible was God's word. And it has been 
God's word to succeeding generations, in so far as its 
message spoke to their hearts and energized their wills. 
In this vitally real sense, it is God's word to us today 
and will continue to be to men and women yet to live. 
And it is God's word in a deeper sense too — in that it 
contains the revelation of Jesus — God's Real Word 
to a groping world. 

Revelation and Inspiration 

Is the Bible inspired? Is it a work of divine revela- 
tion? Yes. Revelation is God endeavoring to make 


Himself known to man, while inspiration is man's abil- 
ity to respond to the divine revelation.There is nothing 
mysterious about these doctrines. They are facts in 
human experience. The belief in God and in man as 
His spiritual creature necessitates that God should 
endeavor to express Himself to His offspring. Revela- 
tion is therefore normal, natural, inevitable. But this 
also requires that man should be able to understand 
God and become his interpreter. Thus inspiration too 
is normal, natural, inevitable. But it is just as normal, 
just as natural, just as inevitable that one man should 
exceed another or at least differ from him in the abil- 
ity to understand and interpret the divine revelation. 
Races too differ in this ability. That is why we have 
the several sacred writings, among which we rate those 
of the Hebrews highest. 

It would perhaps be better to say therefore that the 
men of the Bible were inspired and that their record 
is to us a constant source of inspiration. God spoke to 
them and they interpreted as they understood. We ex- 
ercise our judgment as to whether their inspiration 
was genuine or as to its degree, in the importance we 
attach to their record in living our lives unto God. 
This view of the Bible, which Paul specifically ex- 
pressed and Jesus clearly implied through His practice, 
makes it possible for Christians to believe in the pro- 
gressive revelation of God's plans and purposes, as 
men's experiences enlarge. It also obviates the de- 
fensive, apologetic attitude which so many devout 
Christians have felt constrained to adopt with refer- 
ence to the Bible. What if there are verbal inaccur- 
acies, and even contradictions, in our Scriptures? It is 
but natural that these should occur when we consider 
the methods of transmission and of translation, and 


particularly when we consider that so many different 
persons were endeavoring in times far separated to 
give their understandings of the spiritual values of 
life. This view provides for errors, for misunderstand- 
ings, for contradictions, for growth, for the discovery 
of the truth which ministers to the life of service. 

The Unity of the Bible 

We say that our Bible is a unity. This is true in the 
sense that in every book of the sixty-six we can recog- 
nize the spirit of God endeavoring to make His will 
and mind and purpose known, but not in the sense that 
it is all on the same plane of moral and spiritual ex- 
cellence. There is but one twenty-third Psalm, but one 
sermon on the Mount, but one thirteenth of First 
Corinthians. There is but one parable of the Good 
Samaritan, but one parable of the Prodigal Son, but 
one twenty-fifth of Matthew, nor does the rest of the 
Bible reflect the high ethical and spiritual quality of 
these golden passages. Indeed the whole underlying 
philosophy of the Old Testament is different from 
that of the New. The Old Testament is based on the 
view that righteousness pays dividends in worldly pros- 
perity. But the New Testament represents righteous- 
ness as its own reward and provides for the sacrifice of 
life itself in the effort to promote it. And yet through- 
out the entire record of both testaments, it is the same 
divine Being speaking to men and anxious to commu- 
nicate to them constantly growing conceptions of His 
own loving devotion and of the moral order of the 


The Authority of the Bible 

In what, then, does the authority of the Bible con- 
sist and of what use is it to modern men? Do we need 
a new Bible — a synthetic collection, for example, of 
the best religious teachings of all the world's relations? 

The Bible does have authority in men's life, — in my 
life, in your life. But this authority is not superim- 
posed. The Bible is our help, our aid, our assistant in 
spiritual living — not a record that binds the spirit. 
There is no authority that can bind the spirit of men. 
God has made him free. But when in searching the 
scriptures we find principles for life's spiritual guid- 
ance which we understand to be, and identify with, the 
will of God for man, we know that the Bible has au- 
thority. We are, therefore, obligated as sincere seekers 
after God's will to know the Bible. We are not free to 
ignore so potent a source of spiritual insight. 

We do not need any additions to our Bible nor any 
synthesis of the several sacred writings — not that the 
Bible as at present constituted gives all the spiritual 
insight that men may need, but that the Holy Spirit 
will interpret the record we have in ever-enlarging ap- 
preciations, meanings, and values, so that the Bible is 
sufficient for our spiritual nurture. Of course if we do 
not believe that God is in intimate and constant com- 
munication with His children in the mystical experi- 
ences of men, if we believe that He has no further mes- 
sage for us, then perhaps like Mr. Wells we might set 
out on a quest deliberately to make a written record 
that should represent our loftiest aspirations. But in 
view of the spiritual illumination and enlargement of 
man through communion with God, the futility of such 
procedure seems evident. 


How Did the Bible Assume its Present Form? 

This brings us to the two questions, How did the 
Bible originate? and How did it get its present form? 
Our theory of revelation and of inspiration has already 
made it clear that a multiplicity of materials would 
arise among any people for spiritual edification and 
enlightenment. It remains to be said that certain prag- 
matic tests (II Tim. 3, 16) had to be applied to these 
documents to determine their spiritual value and that 
Luke's (Lk. 1 :l-4) method of patient research was 
used to improve them. 

Naturally men would differ as to what documents 
should be preserved and as to whether the documents 
finally decided upon needed any touching up in the 
view of God's later messages to them or the prevail- 
ing world view of their age. In case of two or three 
documents covering the same or similar ground, it 
would be decided whether they ought to be combined 
into one. Finally, some documents would be accepted 
in one part of the Church, and others in another. We 
find everyone of these procedures obtaining in the 
formation of the canon of our Scriptures. Does this 
detract from their value? Not at all, because God 
evidently revealed Himself to the collectors, the re- 
dactors, the revisionists and responding through inspi- 
ration, they gave us our Bible, which carries within it- 
self the evidence 1 that its authors and finishers were in- 

When we come to the consideration of the form in 
which the books of the Bible now exist, there is in- 
ternal evidence that even the Old Testament law pre- 
served in the Pentateuch is derived from four separate 
sources. Biblical scholars, call these the J document be- 


cause the word used for God is Jahweh (originated in 
Judah), the E document because the word for God is 
Elohim (originated in Ephraim), the D document be- 
cause it originated during the so-called deuteronomic 
reform which could not have antedated 722 B. C, and 
the P document which is attributed to the prophet 
Ezekiel and his contemporaries in exile (572 B. C.) 
and is known as the Priestly Holiness Code. The 
earliest document in the Old Testament canon is of 
Canaanitish origin and is contained in the fourteenth 
chapter of Genesis. The latest book is the book of 
Daniel. Some think the prophets antedated the law. 
These and other discoveries of scholars should not dis- 
turb our faith in the least nor in any way detract from 
the value of the Old Testament for us. 

We find a parallel situation in the New Testament. 
There is internal evidence that Mark, the earliest 
gospel for example, is itself the result of the fusion of 
prior accounts of the incomparable life, perhaps four. 
The manuscripts reveal also that certain passages have 
been touched up, or that glosses have been added as 
the scholars say, to make clear that the understanding 
of the passage prevalent in the copyist's day is not to 
be escaped in the reading, among which are the con- 
clusion of John's gospel and the reference to baptism 
as burial of sin. Certain books that are now in the New 
Testament had hard sledding to be included, among 
them are Hebrews, Jude, II Peter, II and III John, the 
Revelation, and James (Martin Luther ardently chal- 
lenged the authenticity of this book because it made 
his doctrine of justification by faith difficult to some). 
Certain books were finally excluded though honestly 
contended for in certain sections of the church, among 
them are First Clement, Shepherd of Hermas, The 


Epistle of Barnabas, the Gospel of the Birth of Mary, 
the Gospel of Nicodemus, and others. 

How Shall We Use the Bible? 

We must not use it as a book of science, or history, 
or psychology, but as a witness to the eternal verities 
of the ethical and spiritual life. We must not use it to 
bolster up our theological and sectarian narrowness nor 
as a fetish. It is said that you can prove anything by 
the Bible. There are various methods of studying it — 
devotionally, topically, historically, as literature, for 
inner light, for personal guidance. It is well to employ 
various methods of study at different times and for 
different purposes. But by all means study it, make it 
your very own, know where to go to its illuminating 
pages for help, accustom yourself to finding in it prin- 
ciples for meeting the problems and issues of daily ex- 
perience. No Christian ever lost any time that was 
given to the study of the Scriptures, for it is not a re- 
striction on life that comes from the perusal of our 
Christian Bible, but the redirection of life into ever 
widening paths of abundant living that eventuates.The 
source material for life, outranking all other, is our 
Bible. This is the verdict of the modern religious edu- 
cator, who aspires to bring growing persons to under- 
stand the problems and issues of life and to program- 
ize their conduct in terms of the highest principles of 
living. For the Christian religious educator these prin- 
ciples are nowhere so well illustrated as in the Bible. 
The Bible is the finest source book we have for relig- 
ious education, whether of the child, of the youth, or 
of the adult. 



Is Christianity the Final Religion? 
The Basis of a Final Religion 

Man's nature is the basis for a final religion. Long 
ago Paul sensed that all men are blood kin, and that 
racial differences are the result of environmental con- 
ditions and historic changes. The elemental needs of 
men are identical. On the animal side, this is readily 
evident — food, shelter, raiment. Man cannot long 
exist where these necessities are not met. 

But his spiritual needs are equally evident to the 
discerning mind. Man does not live by bread alone. 
Prayer and communion with God are as necessary for 
his spirit as sunshine for his body. He aspires to know 
the truth, to understand things in their relations to 
personal values and to understand these values in their 
relation to God and brotherman. Experimentation in 
the discovery of this truth has been necessary, and so 
we have the several religious systems. The world's 
religions are but experiments in the effort to under- 
stand God. When these experiments or systems are 
compared with each other and the ultimate truth of 
the universe is discovered, they will all have converged 
into one. Even before that great consummation, one 
technique, one religious system ought to be found with 
the best conceivable method of arriving at that goal. 
Is Christianity that method? Does it have the neces- 
sary technique for arriving at ultimate truth? Does it 
meet the conditions of a final religion? 


Basic Values of the World's Living Ethical Religions 

There have been many religions in the record of 
human effort to find and understand God and to relate 
men to Him. Most of them have served their day and 
been superseded by some other that commended itself 
as more promising. We may be sure, however, that a 
religion which has survived the test of real value to 
persons in their search for God and the truth, has 
some permanent, basic, abiding conception underlying 
and animating it. We have eleven such living major 
organized religions in our present-day world. Prof. 
R. E. Hume has made a careful study of their basic 
conceptions of the world's living religions, besides pa- 
ganism which is not ethical. Following him we cata- 
logue the distinctive teachings of these ethical religious 
systems below. They are listed in the chronological 
order of their founding, and in each case the approxi- 
mate number of adherents is given. 


Basic Teachings of the Living Ethical Religions 



Date of Number of 

Beginning Adherents 

1500 B. C. 217,000,000 

1200 B. C. 11,000,000 

Shintoism (?) 660 B.C. 16,000,000 

Zoroastrianism 660 B. C. 





604 B. C. 43,000,000 
599 B. C. 1,000,000 
560 B. C. 137,000,000 

Confucianism 551 B. C. 250,000,000 

4 B. C. 557,000,000 

Mohammedanism 570 A. D. 220,000,000 

1469 A. D. 3,000,000 


Immanence of the di- 
vine in the universe. 

Salvation through obe- 
dience to the righteous 

Nature a beautiful di- 
vine creation. 

Man in his struggle 
with evil may have 
the active cooperation 
of the cosmic good- 

The religion of the 
divine way. 

Self-renunciation, the 
method of salvation. 

Selfishness the root of 
all suffering. Salvation 
through inner purity 
and self-discipline. 

Human nature essen- 
tially good, because 
divinely implanted. 

God as love revealed 
by Jesus and inter- 
preted by the Holy 

There is but one God. 
Mohammed is his 
prophet. Man must 

The religion of the 
disciples of the one 
true God. 


1. Inclusiveness Characteristic of the Final Religion 

There is not one of the basic teachings of these living 
religions of the world which does not represent a posi- 
tive gain in spiritual advance for the race. The final 
religion must contain them all, wedded into a beauti- 
ful and harmonious unity. The final religion will not 
become common by finding the particular aspect of 
truth which is present in all religions and regarding all 
else as commentary. The final religion will take ac- 
count of the individual differences of the world's relig- 
ious systems and will incorporate all of them. These 
differences have been purchased at too great a price to 
be lightly discarded. They will be prized highly as dis- 
coveries in spiritual adventure. All truth belongs to the 
final religion which therefore will become inclusive in 
the fine sense not only of toleration and mutual respect, 
but also of active sincere appreciation for its meanings, 
insights, and values. 

But does not Christianity meet this test of inclusive- 
ness? Does it not include every truth these living eth- 
ical religions cherish? It does and adds its own distinc- 
tive contribution as well. This is the conclusion of those 
who have studied the matter fully — a view in which I 
heartily concur. 

The universal religion for example will need and 
will have in it affirmation of the immanence of God 
which Hinduism especially teaches as set forth above. 
The universal religion will also accept Jainism's self- 
renunciation as a condition of salvation, Buddhism's 
teaching of selfishness as the cause of misery and of 
relief from suffering through inner purity, and Sik- 
hism's demand for discipleship of the One True God 
with trust in His name. It will also include Confucian- 


ism's belief in the essential goodness of human nature 
as divinely implanted, Taoism's behest to walk in the 
divine way, with Shinoism's recognition of nature as a 
beautiful divine creation. Judaism's affirmation of obe- 
dience to the God of righteousness as the sure means 
of complete satisfaction, the universal religion will un- 
doubtedly accept. The conflict of good with evil forces 
and the belief that cosmic righteousness aids the good 
in this conflict, which is Zoroastrianism's chief and fun- 
damental contribution to religious conception, the uni- 
versal religion will incorporate in its creed. And though 
Mohammedanism has supplied mankind with no new 
religious ideas, its unrelenting insistence on mono- 
theism and on man's duty to submit to the omnipotent 
God as being the means of superlative satisfaction, the 
universal religion will accept as its own. 

Every one of these basic ideas of the world's living 
ethical religions is part and parcel of Christianity. Ev- 
erything therefore that is of permanent and abiding 
value for the spiritual aspiration of the race is revealed 
to us in Christianity and is heightened and glorified in 
its setting there. Every great soul-stirring utterance, 
passage, message, or truth of the bibles of these other 
religions is paralleled in our Bible and as nobly ex- 
pressed there, if not, as the almost unanimous verdict 
has it, more nobly expressed there. It would appear 
that Christianity has vindicated its claim to be the all- 
inclusive revelation for all the religions of the world, 
that it includes within its teachings all that is really 
God's truth in each and everyone of them. 

But Christianity can go further than that and claim 
that its teaching as to the great issues of life, for the 
solution of which men's hearts have cried out in every 
age and land, is not only the most satisfying that the 


world has yet received, but it is so completely satisfy- 
ing that it can reasonably be said to be final and ulti- 
mate in concept, but requiring the unfolding experience 
of man to comprehend it in all its joyous beauties and 
varied interpretations. 

Christianity, we may say, therefore, meets the first 
requirement of the final religion, that it should be in- 
clusive in its spiritual outlook, excluding no basic prin- 
ciple of life and for understanding God. 

2. The Final Religion Must Be Concrete 

But the final religion must in the second place be 
concrete, personal, experiential. Herein lies the vital 
difference between philosophy and religion. Philosophy 
is abstract. It universalizes its concepts. It is a syn- 
thesis of the ideas that particular groups of men ac- 
cept with reference to ultimate values. There are va- 
rious schools of philosophy, just as there are several 
religious systems. But philosophy of whatever school 
lacks dynamic. We may know all the principles of holy 
living and be paralytics in performance. But religion is 
nothing if it does not eventuate into life. It motivates, 
evaluates, dynamicizes, integrates living. It can do this 
only in the concrete. The sure and unfailing integrating 
principle relates itself not to abstract teaching, but to 
concrete person. The strength of Christianity is its 

What other living religion can point to such an in- 
carnation of its basic teachings? Where there was an 
individual founder he was manifestly in search of guid- 
ing principles for his life, and (how important this 
is !) he lived those principles only partially. His teach- 
ing was foundational, but it was not himself. But 


Jesus was His teaching. He was a prophet, but differ- 
ent. His prophetic utterances were concrete personal- 
izations. He illustrated His doctrine, or rather His 
doctrine emanated from His life. Christianity thus 
meets the requirement of concreteness is a unique and 
satisfying way. This points to its being accepted as the 
final religion. 

3. The Final Religion Must Be Progressive 

The third test which the final religion must meet is 
progressiveness. That is to say, it will not be final at 
all in any particular moment of time. This is a paradox, 
comparable to Jesus' teaching that we save our lives 
by losing them, or to that modern paradox of a fine 
Christian man known to the speaker, who affirms that 
he has saved only what he has given away. The final 
religion is in process. It is a becoming. 

This fact of progress characterizes man's endeavor 
to understand the spiritual verities and make them 
functional in his life. Religions have too often become 
so enamored of a helpful revelation, that they have 
become solidified around it. Thereupon any suggestion 
that there might be a larger conception was branded 
as heresy. So satisfying was this new discovery, that 
it became identified with men's contemporary cosmo- 
logical ideas and any suggestion that those ideas needed 
enlargement or revision was resisted forthwith as an 
impious attack on the espoused spiritual insight. Hence 
the warfare between science and religion, between psy- 
chology and religion, between social science and relig- 
ion. Silly warfares! 

But this static attitude is untenable philosophically 
and indefensible historically. The principle of progress 


must be basic in the final religion, because that religion 
must account for all the facts of experience, and one 
certain fact is that mankind's conceptions of the spir- 
itual verities have progressed and will continue to 
progress, because God is constantly broadcasting His 
larger truths for man's further enlightenment and in- 

"Just tune your soul till the wave-lengths chime, 
For God is broadcasting all the time." 

— Charles Wharton Stork. 

Christianity is the only religion that incorporates 
this basic principle of progressiveness. God's Holy 
Spirit is our leader into all truth. Without this attitude 
toward life and experience, Christianity would become 
static and lose its claim to being the final religion. With 
God's Holy Spirit leading men into the progressive un- 
derstanding of many things they cannot now bear (Jno. 
16, 12), the third test of the final religion is met — the 
test which regards truth not as a final deposit, but as a 
growing unfolding, and that views all truth as of God. 
The end is not yet. God's truth goes marching on and 
His Holy Spirit leads the way to its discovery. We 
never inquire, if we truly understand Christianity, What 
did Jesus do? but rather, What would Jesus do? So 
does the Christian religion free man. It is thus the 
religion of spiritual giants, not of literalistic pygmies. 

The fundamental ideas of Christianity, progres- 
sively interpreted as experience enlarges, seem to meet 
the intellectual, emotional, and volitional requirements 
of a satisfying program for life, but only as they are 
progressively interpreted. This principle of progres- 
sive interpretation applies also to the Christian view 
of God and of Jesus as His concrete revelation. It is 


this progressive attitude which entitles Christianity 
rightfully to claim that it is the final religion. 

Will Christianity Become the Final Religion? 

That depends upon the attitude of its adherents to- 
ward its essentially progressive nature. If its adherents 
assume that already we have the ultimate truth of God, 
Christianity will become just a religion. If its ad- 
herents become satisfied with any particular method of 
ecclesiastical organization, Christianity is doomed. If 
its missionary zeal shall be directed to demonstrating 
the futility of the non-Christian faiths rather than to 
exemplifying Christianity as the most acceptable way 
of life, the way by which man's life is to be most 
largely promoted and its spiritual interests conserved, 
then Christianity must abandon its claim to be the final 
religion. If its would-be friends resent the judicial 
evaluation of its programs at home and abroad as im- 
pieties and insist that they want appropriations, not 
appraisals, contributions, not criticisms, then some 
other religious system must come to meet the demand 
of the human heart for a religion that will universally 

But if Christianity regards itself as a questing for 
the deeper things of God, for the larger understand- 
ing of His truth, for the new insights into duty and 
privilege and service; if it capitalizes the free spirit of 
man in his adventurous quest for the continuous un- 
folding of God's purpose; if it regards life as a be- 
coming and not as an attainment; if it welcomes the 
new discoveries of the patient scientist in his effort to 
find the laws of God in the universe, of the artist in 
his ambition to interpret life, of the philosopher in his 


aspiration to discover its deeper meanings, of the 
prophet in his luminous glimpses of the abiding values 
of experience; in short, if it regards itself as the pro- 
gressive servant of the evolving abundant life, if it re- 
joices in nothing so much as sincere appraisals and 
constructive criticisms, then Christianity will become 
what Jesus meant it should — the final religion. 

Is this too much to expect? Perhaps it is of this gen- 
eration. But eventually, no. A good man said to me 
not so long ago that he hoped he would not live long 
enough to see all the churches united. Well, he will not, 
nor would any of us wish for the dead uniformity, 
which he conceived necessarily would underlie any 
union of the denominations. We do not want uniform- 
ity. We crave life, and Christianity promises it to us 
in more abundant measure. We have set such store by 
organization as a method of conserving the interests 
we esteem to be desirable, that we have sectarianized 
God's truth. We must repent, and bring forth fruits 
meet for repentance. Pious and platitudinous gestures 
of goodwill ending in mere talk will not meet the re- 

Christianity and Life 

Christianity arose to meet the spiritual needs of 
humanity. Other religions preceded it and still others 
have followed it. Mohammedanism (Islam) professes 
to have arisen to correct the deficiencies of Christian- 
ity. Our trinitarian (to them tritheistic) conception of 
God they decry and insist only on Allah, with Moham- 
med as His chief prophet. They could not understand 
the Trinity. They did not believe that the death of 
Jesus did honor to God, who demanded a price for His 


willingness to forgive man. We have seen that this 
view of the atonement is not representative of Chris- 
tianity and that true to its progressive principle, Chris- 
tianity has purged itself of this concept. Today we be- 
lieve that the death of Jesus reveals the heinousness 
of sin and the suffering that even now God endures 
when His children sin. And finally they claim that Mo- 
hammedanism champions the life of sobriety, forget- 
ting that the principle of respect for personal values 
and their preservation and conservation, which is 
primary in Christianity, would eventually eradicate any 
practice hurtful to man's personality, whether it be the 
use of alcoholic liquors, smoking, excessive eating, 
prostitution, polygamy, or any other of the species of 
conduct which experience should indicate as militating 
against human values universally conceived. The prin- 
ciple of progress which inheres in Christianity will care 
for any weakness our present view of life permits. Its 
further principle of man as a free spiritual being 
working out his way of life under the divine guidance 
provides an additional safeguard against erroneous 
ideas. The final religion of man must have at its heart 
the ability to purge itself and to incorporate in its pro- 
gram more defensive ideals of life as they shall de- 
velop. But this is but another way of defining Chris- 
tianity. Shall we not agree then, that it is embryonic- 
ally final? 



Does Death End All? 
What Is Death? 

Death is a fact, a universal fact. It is as character- 
istic of man as is his life. All men know they must die, 
and yet normally they wish to cling to life so long as is 
possible. It death an enemy or a friend? Does man 
face inevitable annihilation, no matter how success- 
fully he may live out his days? Does death end all? 
And what is death? 

Death is, physically speaking, a chemical change, in 
which the elements of the body pass from animate to 
inanimate status. Death is the separation of body and 
spirit, in which the body returns to the earth and the 
spirit enters upon its truly spiritual existence, relig- 
iously speaking, according to Christian theology. 
Death is necessary to give the succeeding generation a 
chance to express their enlarging views of life and or- 
ganization, progressively speaking. Death is the vesti- 
bule by which we pass from the circumscribed life of 
this world to the ampler life of the spirit, hopefully 
speaking. This world is the arena in which we train for 
the true spiritual race. This life is the portal to that 
race course. Herein we begin: there we develop. Of 
this we may be sure, that death is not evil. Whatever 
is necessary, is good, because God is good, and death 
appears to be one of the necessities. 


The Four Reasons for Believing in Immortality 

The Greek philosopher Plato gave an excellent sum- 
mary of the reasons why men should believe in the im- 
mortal life, four in all. Only eternity, he argues in the 
first place, could provide adequate opportunity for 
righting the injustices and inequalities of this present 
life. Those who had done nobly by their fellows de- 
served their reward. Those who had misused them 
ought to be punished. The universality of the belief, 
in the second place, comforted him. He naively be- 
lieved that all men accepted the idea. This has never 
been true, though the great majority have always 
longed for immortality, and do even yet. Thirdly, the 
dissatisfaction of men with this present life, in his 
judgment necessitated an opportunity for spiritual en- 
largement and development after the brief space of 
this existence. His fourth reason was decidedly meta- 
physical. The great philosopher viewed the soul as 
worthy of preservation. It did not occur to him to 
phrase it as we do today — that the universe would be 
lunatic not to preserve its finest product, personality, 
but in essence that is what he meant. 

The Roman was not philosophical or speculative, 
but practical and pragmatic, in his views of immortal- 
ity. The Romans were content to interpret what others 
had said. Cicero, Seneca, and others accordingly 
merely interpreted the Greek thought to their race, so 
that it became literally true that "captured Greece led 
the captor Rome captive." The naivete of the Roman 
mind is excellently expressed in Cicero's essay on "Old 
Age" in which he represents the venerable Cato as 
saying that he would believe in immortality despite the 
philosophers who undertook to disprove its tenability, 


because it brought him satisfaction, and besides if he 
should be mistaken, the philosophers would not be 
there to deride him. It just seemed to him to be the 
better guess. Cato was in this the typical Roman. 

But Christians do not have to guess. Jesus brought 
life and immortality to light through the gospel (II 
Tim. 1, 10). So fine a life as Jesus lived deserved to 
live on, His contemporaries believed. These men could 
not believe that He could die eternally. Our own con- 
viction is that He lives and that we too shall live. 

The Nine Arguments Against Immortality 

But we must never call our hopes our facts. The 
mark of the real Christian is discerned in his willing- 
ness to look at a proposition from every angle. It is, 
therefore, proper for us to examine the arguments 
against immortality, which have seemingly multiplied 
in our day. 

1. It is argued that the evolutionary process neces- 
sitates a mechanistic view of the universe, including 
man. The only immortality we can believe in, there- 
fore, is the physical law of the conversation of energy. 
Personality and the spiritual values so-called are a de- 
lusion. We are cogs in the material mechanism of the 
universe and quite insignificant cogs at that, we are 
told. But, we retort, this mechanistic view of the uni- 
verse is not even acceptable to all scientists today. The 
more excellent way, we affirm, is to regard evolution 
as God's method of creation, and the soul of man as 
not of a piece with the material elements of his body, 
but rather as temporarily dwelling in his body. Not a 
few physicists are beginning to find the counterpart of 
freedom in the behavior of the constituent protons and 


electrons of the atom and to them the universe begins 
to appear more like a thought than like a machine. 
Even the so-called laws of nature they regard as sta- 
tistical rather than as causal. 

2. The conception of the supernatural is no longer 
tenable, they argue, and so the soul simply does not 
exist. The soul is a rationalized concept to account for 
the miraculous, they say. This is a specious argument, 
but it falls flat when its major premise is laid bare. To 
the theistic Christian, God is present in His world and 
actively concerned in its upbuilding. There are things 
we do not understand. But the existence of God and of 
man as a soul is in no way dependent upon the former 
and outworn conception of the supernatural, to which 
we do not subscribe. Spirit — whether in man or in God 
— and matter are both natural and can have relations 
to one another, even if ultimately they should be 
shown to be of one substance, for a man can have rela- 
tions with his own spirit. 

3. The intimate relationship existing between what 
we call consciousness and man's nervous system, they 
assert, renders the belief in the soul impossible, and so 
there can be no immortality for what does not exist. 
But the Christian view is that the entire body, includ- 
ing the brain or central nervous system, is the instru- 
ment of the soul. This soul, when an injury or other 
impairment of the brain occurs, is able to take over 
an unused section of the brain or one that had been sup- 
posedly "reserved" for another purpose, as we have 
seen, and mould it to serve as the vehicle of its expres- 
sion. The body does to an extent limit the soul, just as 
an automobile conditions the chauffeur's rate of speed, 
but the soul is the commander-in-chief, and has an ex- 


istence independent of the body, just as the chauffeur 
does of his car. 

4. The historical criticism of the Bible makes it im- 
possible, they say, to believe in the soul, for an iner- 
rant Bible is the chief source of belief in immortality. 
How so? Did not the Bible grow, as we have seen, and 
is the knowledge of that process not strengthening to 
our view that God is in His world of things and of 
men continuously endeavoring the better to make His 
purposes clearer? The Bible takes both God and man 
for granted and is a record of the experience of certain 
men in their effort to understand God. It is not the 
fetish its critics imagine, nay, we may rather say, and 
truthfully too, our very love for the Bible strengthens 
our belief in man's immortality. 

5. The inaccuracies and contradictions associated 
with the resurrection stories, we are told, manifestly 
discredit this doctrine for the Christian, who gets one 
of his greatest confirmations of the belief from this 
event. We frankly admit that witnesses often contra- 
dict each other, not maliciously, but because our phys- 
ical senses do not give us the same report. The stories 
of the resurrection and of the days immediately fol- 
lowing that marked the appearance of Jesus to His 
disciples, were written long years after the event. If 
they agreed in every particular, we would suspect col- 
lusion. The seeming inaccuracies and contradictions 
are to be accounted for on purely experiential grounds 
and in no true sense invalidate the truth of the event. 
Paul was right in the importance attached to the spir- 
itual existence of Jesus following the Cross. If Jesus 
does not live, then we are of all men most miserable. 

6. The doctrine of relativity which Einstein has 
promulgated for the physical world joined with 


Dewey's instrumentalism in philosophy, they insist, 
makes it impossible for us to entertain longer any doc- 
trine involving an objective spiritual or moral order. 
But we are wholly committed to progress. In moral 
and spiritual matters, we pit one outcome against an- 
other, we choose what appeals to us as the most ten- 
able. We experiment with it. Sometimes our judgment 
is confirmed by experience. More often we have dis- 
covered that our chosen outcome needed enlargement. 
In this way new conceptions of God, of man, of the 
universe, of moral idealism have come to us. This is 
true moral and spiritual relativity. Einstein has but 
read into physics and Dewey but translated into philo- 
sophical language, not perfectly, it is true, what the 
progressive view of the moral and spiritual universe 
has always required, and, what is more, practised with 
more or less consistency. 

7. A further argument they find against the doc- 
trine of immortality in what they style the worthless- 
ness, the insignificance of man. A false pride and an 
unwarranted assumption of personal worth, they argue, 
have encouraged man to advocate the perpetuity of his 
little self. A calm, dispassionate, philosophic view of 
man they assert, renders such egotism impossible, espe- 
cially in view of the magnitude of the universe and the 
moral excellency men attribute to God. Man's true 
worth is not found in the size of his physical body, we 
have seen. It is rather to be found in his moral, his 
ethical, his spiritual nature and aspirations. Surely a 
sensible universe will preserve these, for these are they 
which relate us to the moral excellency of God Him- 

8. It is selfish. We admit it would be selfish if a 
person wished the everlasting life for himself only. 


But since he thinks of it as characteristic of all men 
everywhere, as an inalienable attribute, it becomes not 
only personal or selfish, but social and altruistic. Surely 
there is no selfishness in the desire for the everlasting 
life when all men are included in its concept. 

9. It minimizes this present life. But does it? Does 
it not rather enlarge it to believe that it is the portal, 
the vestibule to a spiritual existence that will last for- 
ever? What would really minimize this present life 
would be its limitation to the brief span of human ex- 
istence. To express the confidence that our brief span 
of life here will introduce us to a continuing type of 
life — that is to magnify life, that is everlasting life's 
contribution to our thinking. 

Endless Spiritual Development 

And this brings us to the final matter of which we 
shall speak at this time, the endless development of 
man's soul. It is most important, though we might, if 
there were time, also speak of revelation, of inspira- 
tion, of prayer, of forgiveness, of love, as spiritual 
laws. However it is of one of the greatest of spiritual 
laws, of which we now speak, that the soul of man will 
endlessly develop. The destiny of man is an eternal 
destiny of progress, of fulfillment, of advancing con- 
cept in fellowship with God and of discovery of the 
inner source of His nature and of His universe, let us 
say. And we may continue by saying that no bare ex- 
istence forever can satisfy the spiritual aspirations of 
the human heart. The Christian speaks not of the im- 
mortality of the soul, but of the everlasting life. Im- 
mortality is cold and bleak to men. The everlasting 


life is warm and inviting to them. It is the everlasting 
life that wins the Christian heart. 

What charm this concept has for us ! What vistas 
it suggests for experience ! The view that the spiritual 
world will be one of continuous music and worship has 
lost its appeal for Christians. Any type of monotony 
becomes painful to us. There is a rhythm in our life. 
For persons whose lot was one long drudgery, such a 
heaven of continuous music and worship no doubt had 
its attractions. But for the free soul, there must be op- 
portunity for growth, for progress, for discovery, for 
enlarging experience. Our human history has been just 
this and we are perfectly justifiable in positing as an 
abiding verity, that the spiritual life is not only a con- 
tinuous existence, but an ever-lasting experience of 
God and a progressive understanding of His nature 
and of His universe. 

And so we answer the question propounding in the 
beginning of our lecture tonight by saying that cer- 
tainly death does not end all. Death but opens the ves- 
tibule to an enlarged, a progressive, a spiritually satis- 
fying living. Such is the witness of the Christian's 
faith, and calm in the confidence of this faith we ra- 
diantly face the future. 



Do We Need a Philosophy of Life? 
What is Philosophy? 

It is fashionable now-a-days to berate creeds and 
philosophy has been classed with creeds in the popular 
mind. Yet creeds are the most effective controls of life. 
Every man has such an emotional attitude if he acts 
consistently or attitudes if his emotional centre of 
gravity is not in stable equilibrium. If this discrepancy 
is violently inconsistent, we attribute dual or triple 
personality, or even insanity, to the individual. The 
psychological explanation of such phenomena is, that 
the personality is not integrated in terms of a consis- 
tent life-purpose. But that is exactly what philosophy 
is. It is the synthesis, the unification, the integration 
into a consistent system of all the values of life. Mani- 
festly we need individually to synthesize, unify, and 
integrate our experiences into a consistent system of 
values. When we have done this personally with our 
world, we have attained a philosophy of life. When we 
dynamicize this philosophy of life so that it motivates 
our conduct, we have raised philosophy to the status 
of religion. When we have motivated our life-phil- 
osophy in terms of the Christian way of life, we be- 
come Christians. 

Two Philosophies of Life 

For all practical purposes there are but two phil- 
osophies of life in our present-day world — the pagan 


and the Christian — the materialistic and the spiritual, 
the selfish and the altruistic. We will briefly consider 
these two views of life in contrast. We shall thus see 
what the Christian philosophy of life involves. We 
shall study seven of these contrasts. 

1. Persons Versus Things 

The pagan philosophy looks at this present world. 
Its values are judged to be good. We cannot get along 
without things and so it places supreme emphasis upon 
them. Whatever interferes with the getting of things 
is to be done away according to this outlook on life. 
Nothing must impede a man in his ambition to gather 
the material goods of life, is its cardinal principle. 

Christianity also looks at the world and it too pro- 
nounces it good, but its chief good is not things. Things 
for it have values only in their human uses. The su- 
preme values are personal, and these must be con- 
served, preserved, promoted at whatever cost. No 
matter what interest collides with the development of 
personality, it must be done away. All things exist for 
persons. Persons must never be sacrificed to the in- 
crease, the production, the amassing of things. Chris- 
tianity is the religion of personality. 

2. The Universal Versus the Particular 

The pagan philosophy is individualistic, particular- 
istic. It is narrow and localized. Our capitalistic sys- 
tem, undoubtedly, has sometimes twisted personal 
values and their preservation into a perverted doc- 
trine of "rugged individualism." "We believe in per- 
sonality development," assert these capitalists with 


their vested interests, "and nothing must be tolerated 
that abridges the free right of the individual to achieve 
self-realization." Beautiful sentiment, but what tra- 
vesties it has perpetrated upon the values inherent in 
other persons than the self-complacent and economic- 
ally entrenched rugged individualist ! Individualism is 
selfish. Personality thrives in the social atmosphere. 
We do not indict rugged individualism as hopelessly 
pagan nor berate individual initiative, but we do invite 
their purification. 

Christianity can tolerate no selfish indulgence. Its 
doctrine of the brotherhood of man hallows its prin- 
ciple of the supreme worth of personality by univer- 
salizing it. Whatever conserves, preserves, promotes 
personal values for all men, women, and children ev- 
erywhere — that is the goal of personal living and of 
social cooperation. Neither industry nor profits nor 
government nor any other creature or force must be 
permitted to abridge the rights of persons universally 
related. Personality and brotherhood — these are the 
great pillars upon which rest the program of Christian 

3. Love Versus Fear 

Pagan worship has always proceeded on the basis 
that it should make terms with the cosmic forces of 
life, sometimes conceived as God. Fear has lain at its 
root. The effort to appease and if possible to ally God 
with its program has been its animating purpose. We 
pagans want God on our side, and so we do abeisance 
to Him as the spiritual potentate of the universe. We 
are concerned to secure His support. We are not so 


alert to discover His program nor consistently to pur- 
sue it. 

But the Christian looks upon God not as a Being to 
be feared nor to be used, but to be loved. Our God is 
friendly to men and the universe is friendly. We have 
no reason or occasion to fear God. He is love and He 
seeks our love not through the compulsion of fear nor 
the bribery of favors received or granted, but through 
the appealing charm and attractiveness of voluntary, 
self-giving affection. Perfect love casteth out fear. It 
was a sad day for the Christian religion when it be- 
came enamored of Greek philosophy, having been re- 
jected by the warmly humanistic advocates of the He- 
brew orthodoxy. It was a sad day for Christianity be- 
cause ere long it succumbed to Roman imperialism 
founded on force and in that situation largely lost its 
appeal to the affectional nature of man. Protestantism 
rebelled against the ecclesiastical imperialism of the 
Roman Church and, where it did not identify itself 
with the nation, became an intellectual individualism, 
which has resulted in the denominational, sectarian 
spirit so characteristic of the Western world. The so- 
cial gospel has arisen to bring back into the Church 
the spirit of love and to discredit the deadening in- 
fluence of force in the religious approach to life. Per- 
haps it could not have been otherwise. But the way of 
love is not the way of force nor of fear nor of spiritual 
bargaining, but rather the way of the complete liber- 
ation of man in his relation to God and his fellows. 

4. Giving Versus Getting 

The pagan is faced by the vicissitudes of fortune. 
He sets out to provide against them. Foolish is the 


man who does not make provision for the rainy day, 
he thinks. Make hay while the sun shines, is to him no 
mere slogan. It is a settled life-principle. Thrift is 
sublimated for him into Godliness. And so he sets out 
to entrench himself in a situation that is marked by 
change. Sad has been his disillusionment in these latter 
days ! His bonds, his stocks, his mortgages have be- 
come mere scraps of paper. His securities have changed 
their name to insecurities. Accustomed to affluence, the 
shock of its loss staggered his life. Suicide suddenly 
became popular. Men that concentrate on getting are 
gratefully forgotten by their fellows. Nations that aim 
at self-aggrandizement are bled white by devastating 
wars and their imperial pomp fades. Getting is its own 
defeat, as is all selfishness. 

The Christian also looks at life. Its social obligation 
calls to his sense of brotherhood. He feels personally 
responsible for the sad plight of his brothers. He too 
sets out to acquire the goods of life — not that he may 
make himself secure in a situation characterized by 
change, but that he may have a surplus to share with 
his brother, to share with him not condescendingly, but 
as love shall dictate. The man who is rich toward God 
is generous toward his needy brother. The Christian 
philosophy of life produces millionaires of the spirit. 
Depressions may come, and depressions may go, but 
the philosophy of love, of sharing, goes on forever 
enriching the giver, the recipient, and God. 

5. Duty Versus Rights 

The pagan looks at life from inside his shell of self- 
interest. What one man gets another cannot have, and 
so he has worked out his doctrine of human or per- 


sonal rights. He thus develops a system of rules for 
the conduct of life to hold the other fellow off, while 
the strong individual exploits whom and what he can. 
Insistence on rights produces discord, jealousy, hatred 
in private life. It produces wars in international life. 
What an ugly train of disasters, personal and social 
rights have produced! World economic and disarma- 
ment conferences fail. Why? Because the several na- 
tions are determined to secure their rights. Divorces 
multiply, homicides increase, bitternesses and heart- 
aches are rife. Why? Because individuals are deter- 
mined to have their rights. 

Now this whole business is wrong, if Christianity is 
right. The only right I can ever have as a Christian is 
to see to it that my brothers everywhere have their 
rights. The great word for me as a Christian is not 
rights, but duty. And even duty must be interpreted as 
privilege, because privilege includes the principle of 
voluntarism along with the sense of obligation. Obliga- 
tion voluntarily recognized because of the motivating 
principle of love — that is duty. As Robert E. Lee said, 
it is the sublimest word in the English language. It is 
also the greatest concept in the vocabulary of conduct. 
It is love expressed in social relationships. 

6. Service Versus Rulership 

What is greatness? "The ability to rule others," 
says the pagan. That man is greatest who can force 
his will upon the greatest number of his fellows, ac- 
cording to pagan philosophy. And nationally speak- 
ing, that nation is greatest that can exercise control 
over the most people and the largest area of the earth's 
surface. The ideally great nation would incorporate 


into its political sovereignty all the ends of the earth. 
World-empire, however, is a fatuous dream that has 
fired the grandiose imaginations of many gifted peo- 
ples. Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Ger- 
many — all of them aimed at world domination, and 
failed. They did more, they ruined the finer sensibil- 
ities of their victimized peoples in the attempt. Lordly 
rule, whether individual or social, is doomed. Ruler- 
ship is an unearned increment. It comes as an enrich- 
ing by-product of experience. Directly sought, it be- 
comes ashes. Directly sought, it destroys the finer sen- 
sibilities of mankind. Coming as an unearned increment 
of service rendered, it embellishes all life. 

The very embodiment of this attitude is the Chris- 
tian philosophy of life. He who would be greatest 
must be servant, forgetting his greatness in the joyous 
ministry of his service. Jesus came not to be ministered 
unto, but to minister. He was among His fellows as 
one who served. He would not permit His disciples to 
think of themselves as servants, but dignified them by 
calling them friends. The friendly ministry to life— 
what more exhilarating attitude ! But that is exactly 
the Christian program, originating out of and sup- 
ported by its philosophy of life. And this principle ap- 
plies to nations as well as to persons. It applies to all 
the institutions organized to promote men's lives as 
well as to men themselves. What a glorious day it will 
be for humanity when the nations of the world give 
themselves to the promotion of the general welfare of 
mankind! Personal sainthood is not enough: there 
must be national sainthood too. Sainthood is life, per- 
sonal and social, devoted to the universal welfare of 

7. Cooperation Versus Competition 

How illogical appears the pagan view of life with 
its insistence that competition is the fundamental law 
of human relationships! Arithmetically, it is folly to 
compete. Two persons can certainly accomplish more 
by working together than by pulling against each other. 
And yet the pagan insists that every man's interest is 
limited by every other man. He forgets that the mate- 
rial wealth which he aims to amass is a social product 
and that its administration involves social possession. 
He admits that his hand is against every man, but he 
repudiates responsibility for what he regards as a stern 
necessity. He did not, he insists, make life competitive. 
If his pagan philosophy of life is that of the jungle and 
if it is "red in tooth and claw," he is as much a victim 
as any other man, and he means to care for himself 
while he can. Progress can come only, as such men see 
it, by the upward climb of strong individuals. It is their 
duty to achieve success, and if, in their determined 
ascent to the place of power and security and progress, 
they must trample over the broken and bruised bodies 
of their fellows, they excuse themselves on the ground 
that the law of life is that "the fittest survive." To 
them the fittest always equals strongest. 

There is no point at which the Christian philosophy 
of life joins issue more decidedly with the pagan, than 
right here. Christianity is the religion of progress and 
if progress is to be achieved only by the negation of 
the fundamental concepts of Christianity, we Chris- 
tians must repudiate progress or repudiate our religion. 
But we will do neither. The law of progress is not 
selfishness, euphemistically called competition. Men do 
not rise to higher things by ruthless triumph over their 


fellows. Such triumph debases men. It is not the pre- 
rogative of the strong to exploit the weak. Progress 
does not lie that way. 

Even pagans will not follow out to logical com- 
pleteness the gruesome and harrowing application of 
their philosophy. In the abstract they may assent to it, 
but in the concrete never. Let a loved one contract a 
dreaded disease. "Well," logically the pagan philos- 
opher should conclude, "he is weak and not fit to sur- 
vive. We regret his illness, but it is useless to oppose 
fate. Let him die." But what human being will act ac- 
cording to this view? Rather will the professed pagan 
go the limit in sacrifice for the restoration of his loved 
one. He will sell all that he has and expend it on behalf 
of the stricken member of his heart and home. And 
through the long hours of the night he will watch in 
the hope that he may yet do something to win back his 
loved one to health and strength. In such experiences a 
man's real philosophy of life is revealed. In such ex- 
periences the heart is tendered and life itself haloed 
by a sweet and gracious ministry. 

Progress comes not by crushing out the weak, but by 
imparting to them new strength. It comes not through 
climbing to new heights of achievement over the bleed- 
ing and bruised forms of our weaker brothermen, but 
by lifting them up to the level of strength of the 
strong, — that we may all be vigorous with life and 
health together. So is fellowship enthroned. So is 
Christian brotherhood vindicated. So does the Chris- 
tian philosophy of life triumph. In it is the hope of the 
world. In it is the Kingdom of God. 


Philosophy and Personal Religion 

But not unless and until this Christian philosophy 
of life becomes to me individually the way of living, 
will my religion become truly personal. The voluntary 
commitment of myself with all the talents at my com- 
mand to the Christian philosophy as the dynamic, the 
motivating principle of my conduct — that is personal 
religion. The greatest force making for human and in- 
stitutional redemption is this same Personal Religion. 
It shall shine "more and more unto the perfect day 
(Proverbs 4, 18)," of the coming of the Kingdom of 
God to dwell among men. Such is the goal of Personal 
Religion, whose dynamic is the propulsive power of 
devoted affection. So does Jesus become the Christian 
philosophy of life. Through His divine-human per- 
sonality does Personal Religion become the motiva- 
tion principle of wholesome and helpful living. So is 
life hallowed, enriched, conserved. So is progress in 
moral and spiritual aspiration assured. 

Certainly we need a philosophy of life and if we are 
wise, we will aim at the achievement of the Christian 
philosophy of life in our personal experience and life. 


General Bibliography 

Note : For each chapter, including the first, a bibliog- 
raphy is provided. The books listed aim to represent 
the major issues in controversial matters. It is hoped 
that the reader will read the bibliography before the 
text, so as not to be too much influenced in his judg- 
ment by the author's opinions. The Bible is cited first 
in each chapter and without number. This is as it 
should be. Its position in the bibliography is meant to 
suggest its primary importance as a source book for 
religion. Over the radio only the Bible references were 
given. — The author. 

Chapter I. What is Personal Religion? 

The Bible: Psalm 23, Ezek. 18, 4 and 20, Matt. 7, 21. 

1. Bower, W. C, Religion and the Good Life. 
Abingdon, 1933. 

2. Dewey, John, A Common Faith. Yale, 1934. 

3. Harper, W. A., Youth and Truth. Century, 1927. 

4. Hickman, F. S., Introduction to the Psychology 
of Religion. Abingdon, 1926. 

5. Hughes, H. M., Basic Beliefs, Abingdon, 1929. 

6. Lewis, Edwin, Great Christian Teachings. Abing- 
don, 1934. 

7. Lyman, E. W., The Meaning and Truth of Relig- 
ion. Scribner's, 1926. 




8. Rail, H. F., A Faith for Today. Abingdon, 1936. 

9. Soper, E. D., What May I Believe? Abingdon, 

10. Wright, W. K., A Student's Philosophy of Relig- 
ion. Macmillan, revised 1935. 

Chapter II. How Shall We Think of God? 

At the beginning of each bibliography after the first 
will be given the numbers of books previously listed 
that will be found helpful in solving the particular 
problem under consideration. Those cited in Chapter 
I that have special bearing on the present problem 
are: 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. 

The Bible. Consult the concordance under "God." 
Jno. 4, 24. 

11. Brightman, E. S., The Finding of God. Abing- 
don, 1931. 

12. Clark, W. N., The Christian Doctrine of God. 
Scribner's, 1910. 

13. Haydon, A. E., The Quest of the Ages. Harper, 

14. Hocking, W. E., The Meaning of God in Hu- 
man Experience. Yale, 1912. 

15. Horton, W. M., Theism and the Modem Mind. 
Harper, 1930. 

16. Hume, R. E., The World's Living Religions. 
Scribner's, revised 1931. 

17. Patten, A. B., Can We Find God? Doran, 1924. 

18. Swain, R. L., What and Where is God? Mac- 
millan, 192L 

19. Tillett, W. F., The Paths That Lead to God. 
Doran, 1924. 



20. Wieman, Macintosh, Otto, Is There a God? 
Willett, Clark and Co., 1933. 

Chapter III. How Shall We Understand Jesus? 

Books previously listed — 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, and 19. 
The Bible: Consult the concordance under "Jesus" 
and "Christ." 

21. Bennett, John C, Social Salvation. Scribner's, 

22. Blanchard, F. Q., How One Man Changed the 
World. Pilgrim, 1929. 

23. Bosworth, E. I., The Life and Teaching of 
Jesus. Macmillan, 1924. 

24. Case, S. J., Jesus, A New Biography. Chicago, 

25. Denny, W. B., The Career and Significance of 
Jesus. Nelson, 1933. 

26. Klausner, J., Jesus of Nazareth. Macmillan, 

27. Knudson, A. C, The Doctrine of Redemption. 
Abingdon, 1933. 

28. Schweitzer, A., The Quest of the Historical 
Jesus. Macmillan, 1910. 

29. Simkovitch, V. G., Towards the Understanding 
of Jesus. Macmillan, 1921. 

30. Stewart, George, The Crucifixion in Our Street. 
Doran, 1927. 

Chapter IF. Do We Need the Holy Spirit in 
Our Religion? 

Books previously listed— 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 19, 
23, and 30. 



The Bible: Consult the Concordance under "Holy 
Ghost," "Holy Spirit," "Spirit," "Spirit of 
Christ," "Spirit of God," I Jno. 5, 8. Eph. 4: 

31. Brightman, E. S., Personality and Religion. 
Abingdon, 1934. 

32. Calhoun, R. L., God and the Common Life. 
Scribner's, 1935. 

33. Clarke, W. N., An Outline of Christian Theol- 
ogy. Scribner's, 1899. 

34. Fisher, G. P., History of Christian Doctrine. 
Scribner's, 1896. 

35. Gore, C, The Holy Spirit and the Church. 
Scribner's, 1924. 

36. Jones, Rufus M., The Faith and Practice of the 
Quakers. Doran, 1927. 

37. McGiffert, A. C, History of Christian Thought, 
Early and Eastern. Scribner's, 1933. 

38. McGiffert, A. C, History of Christian Thought, 
West. Scribner's, 1933. 

39. Streeter, B. H., The Spirit. Macmillan, 1914. 

40. Tillett, W. F., Providence, Prayer, and Power. 
Cokesbury, 1926. 

Chapter V. Horn Shall We Regard Man? 

Books previously listed — 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 22, 
27, 30, 32, and 40. 

The Bible: Psalm 8. Consult the Concordance under 

41. Brightman, E. S., Moral Laws. Abingdon, 1933. 

42. Harper, W. A., Character Building in Colleges. 
Abingdon, 1928. 



43. Hartshorne, Hugh, Character in Human Rela- 
tions, Scribner's, 1932. 

44. Hartshorne and May, Studies in the Organiza- 
tion of Character. Macmillan, 1930. 

45. Jacks, L. P., The Revolt Against Mechanism. 
Macmillan, 1933. 

46. Lashley, K., Brain Mechanisms and Intelligence. 
Chicago, 1928. 

47. Stevens, S. N., Religion in Life Adjustments. 
Abingdon, 1930. 

48. Swain, R. L., What and Why Is Man? Macmil- 
lan, 1925. 

49. Thomson, W. H., Brain and Personality. Dodd 
Mead, 1906. 

50. Weatherhead, L. D., Psychology and Life. 
Abingdon, 1935. 

Chapter VI. Does Man Need Salvation? 

Books previously listed: 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 21, 
32, 27, 40, 47, 48, and 50. 

The Bible. Acts 16 : 25-36. Consult Concordance under 

51. Barbour, C. E., Sin and the New Psychology. 
Abingdon, 1930. 

52. Burkhart, Roy A., Guiding Individual Growth. 
Abingdon, 1935. 

53. Bushnell, H., Christian Nurture (Revised by 
Weigle). Scribner's, 1916. 

54. Elliott, H. and Elliott, Grace L., Solving Per- 
sonal Problems. Holt, 1936. 

55. Holman, C. T., The Cure of Souls. Chicago, 



56. Mackintosh, H. R., The Christian Experience of 
Forgiveness. Harper, 1927. 

57. Stevens, G. B., The Christian Doctrine of Salva- 
tion. Scribner's, 1905. 

58. Tillett, W. F., Personal Salvation. Cokesbury, 

59. Underwood, A. C, Conversion: Christian and 
Non-Christian. Macmillan, 1925. 

60. Waterhouse, E. S., What is Salvation? Cokes- 
bury, 1933. 

Chapter VII. How Was the World Created? 

Books previously listed: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 15, 17, 21, 
39, 45, 46, 47, 49, 50, 51, and 59. 
The Bible: Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, Psalm 19. John 

61. Barnes, H. E., The Twilight of Christianity.. . 
Vanguard, 1929. 

62. Burtt, E. A., Religion in an Age of Science. 
Stokes, 1929. 

63. Coulter, J. M. and M. C, Where Religion and 
Evolution Meet. Macmillan, 1924. 

64. Einstein, A., Relativity. Holt, 1920. 

65. Huxley, J. S., Religion Without Revelation. 
Harper, 1927. 

66. Mason, Frances B., The Great Design. Macmil- 
lan, 1934. 

67. Millikan, R., Evolution in Science and Religion. 
Yale, 1927. 

68. Morgan, C. L., Emergent Evolution. Holt, 1922. 

69. Pupin, M., The New Reformation. Scribner's, 



70. White, A. D., History of the Warfare of Science 
with Theology. 2 Vols. Appleton, 1910. 

Chapter VIII. Do We Need the Church? 

Books previously listed: 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 25, 28, 29, 
42, 50, 51, and 55. 

The Bible-. Consult the Concordance under ''Church." 
See especially Matthew 18, 20; Matt. 16:16-18; 
Acts 2, 47; and Eph. 5, 27. 

71. Ainslie, Peter, The Scandal of Christianity. Wil- 
lett, 1929. 

72. Bower, W. C, Religious Education in the Mod- 
ern Church. Bethany, 1929. 

73. Braden, C. S., Modern Tendencies in World Re- 
ligions. Macmillan, 1933. 

74. Brown, W. A., The Church, Catholic and Prot- 
estant. Scribner's, 1935. 

75. Douglass, H. Paul, Church Unity Movements in 
the United States. The Institute of Social and 
Religious Research, 1934. 

76. Harper, W. A., An Integrated Program of Re- 
ligious Education. Macmillan, 1926. 

77. Johnson, F. Ernest, Economics and the Good 
Life. Association, 1934. 

78. Lotz, P. H., and Crawford, L. W., Studies in 
Religious Education. Cokesbury, 1931. 

79. Smith, R. S., New Trails for the Christian 
Teacher. Wesminster, 1934. 

80. Soares, T. G., Religious Education. Chicago, 



Chapter IX. Of What Value is the Bible? 

Books previously listed: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, 16, 28, 32, 
36, 41, 54, and 69. 
The Bible : The entire Bible. 

81. Case, A. T., Liberal Christianity and Religious 
Education. Macmillan, 1919. 

82. Fosdick, H. E., The Modern Use of the Bible. 
Macmillan, 1924. 

83. Gladstone, W. E., The Impregnable Rock of 
Holy Scripture. Altemus, 1910. 

84. Grant, F. C, Form Criticism. Willet, Clark, 

85. Harrell, C. J., The Bible; Its Origin and Growth. 
Cokesbury, 1926. 

86. Mathews, I. G., Old Testament Life and Liter- 
ature {Revised) Macmillan, 1934. 

87. Selleck, W. E., The New Appreciation of the 
Bible. Chicago, 1907. 

88. Stewart, George, Can I Teach My Child Relig- 
ion? Doran, 1929. 

89. Wallis, Louis, God and the Social Process. Chi- 
cago, 1935. 

90. Warfield, B. B., Revelation and Inspiration. Ox- 
ford, 1927. 

Chapter X. Is Christianity the Final Religion? 

Books previously listed: 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 41, 47, 
50, 53, 54, 55, 71, 75, 80, 88, and 89. 
The Bible: Phil. 2:6-11, Acts 17:19-34. 

91. Baker, A. G., Christian Missions and a New 
World Culture. Willet, Clark, 1934. 



92. Barclay, W. C, The World Mission of the Chris- 
tian Religion. Cokesbury, 1934. 

93. Fleming, D. J., Contacts with Non-Christian 
Cultures. Doran, 1929. 

94. Haydon, E. A., Modern Trends in World Re- 
ligions. Chicago, 1935. 

95. Hutchinson, Paul, World Revolution and Re- 
ligion. Abingdon, 1931. 

96. Martin, A. W., Comparative Religion and the 
Religion of the Future. Appleton, 1926. 

97. McAfee, C. B., The Foreign Mission Enterprise 
and its Sincere Critics. Revell, 1935. 

98. Rethinking Missions, A Layman's Inquiry After 
One Hundred Years. Harper, 1932. 

99. Speer, R. E., Re-thinking Missions Examined. 
Revell, 1933. 

100. The Christian Life and Message in Relation to 
the Non-Christian Systems of Thought and Life. 
Vol. 1., Jerusalem Meeting of the I. M. C. In- 
ternational Missionary Council, 1928. 

Chapter XL Does Death End All? 

Books previously listed: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 27, 
41, 45, 47, 49, 51, 53, 56, 57, 60, 61, 62, 65, 70, and 

The Bible : I Cor. 15. 

101. Abbott, L., The Other Room. Macmillan, 1905. 

102. Baillie, John, And the Life Everlasting. Scrib- 
ner's, 1935. 

103. Bell, W. Cosby, // a Man Die. Scribner's, 1934. 

104. Eddington, A. S., Science and the Unseen World. 
Macmillan, 1930. 



105. Fosdick, H. E., The Assurance of Immortality. 
Association, 1918. 

106. Halsey, D. P., Evidence for Immortality. Mac- 
millan, 1931. 

107. Keen, W. W., Everlasting Life. Lippincott, 

108. Leuba, J. H., Belief in God and Immortality. 
Open Court, 1917. 

109. Mathews, Shailer, Immortality and the Cosmic 
Process. Harvard, 1933. 

110. Moore, C. H., Ancient Beliefs in the Immortal- 
ity of the Soul. Longmans, 1931. 

Chapter XII. Do We Need a Philosophy of Life? 

Books previously listed: 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 
31, 41, 42, 45, 47, 49, 61, 65, 77, 78, 94, 95, 98, and 

The Bible : Col. 2 :6-9. 

111. Brown, O. E., Kirkland, J. H., and Minis, E., 
God and the New Knowledge. Cokesbury, 1925. 

112. Cabot, R. C, The Meaning of Right and Wrong. 
Macmillan, 1933. 

113. Curry, Bruce, Speaking of Religion. Scribner's, 

114. Hyde, W. D., The Five Great Philosophies of 
Life. Macmillan, 1911. 

115. Neibuhr, R., Moral Man and Immoral Society. 
Scribner's, 1932. 

116. Pringle-Pattison, A. S., Studies in the Philosophy 
of Religion. Oxford, 1930. 

117. Schweitzer, A., Philosophy of Civilization. Mac- 
millan, 1933. 



118. Streibert, M., Youth and the Bible. Macmillan, 

119. Van Dusen, H. P., The Plain Man Seeks for 
God. Scribner's, 1933. 

120. Winton, G. B., Pleaders for Righteousness. 
Cokesbury, 1929. 


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